Four Treasures of the Sky
A dazzling debut novel set against the backdrop of the Chinese Exclusion Act, about a Chinese girl fighting to claim her place in the 1880s American West. Daiyu never wanted to be like the tragic heroine for whom she was named, revered for her beauty and cursed with heartbreak. But when she is kidnapped and smuggled across an ocean from China to America, Daiyu must relinquish the home and future she imagined for herself. Over the years that follow, she is forced to keep reinventing herself to survive. From a calligraphy school, to a San Francisco brothel, to a shop tucked into the Idaho mountains, we follow Daiyu on a desperate quest to outrun the tragedy that chases her. As anti-Chinese sentiment sweeps the country in a wave of unimaginable violence, Daiyu must draw on each of the selves she has been—including the ones she most wants to leave behind—in order to finally claim her own name and story. At once a literary tour de force and a groundbreaking work of historical fiction, Four Treasures of the Sky announces Jenny Tinghui Zhang as an indelible new voice. Steeped in untold history and Chinese folklore, this novel is a spellbinding feat.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
This debut novel is a stunner, historical fiction at its best (captivating, illuminating and provoking) in its depiction and portrayal of the horrors of racism, discrimination, abuse and greed.
The author has threaded a deep understanding of Chinese calligraphic arts, that goes beyond artistic standards; referenced an eponymous heroine in a classic Chinese novel; included historical events about Chinese Americans that have been relegated and left to fade away; revealed the graphic horror of a childhood cut short; and created a protagonist who continuously reinvents herself, in order to survive, and also to discover who she really is. It is no small achievement that Jenny Zhang has written a book of arresting beauty about horrific events. – Los Angeles Public Library, USA