My America: C Pam Zhang
Born in Beijing but mostly an artifact of the United States, C PAM ZHANG presents her much-talked-about debut novel How Much of These Hills Is Gold. Named one of the most anticipated books of 2020 by numerous publications and online outlets, this is an electric debut set against the twilight of the American gold rush featuring two siblings on the run in an unforgiving landscape—trying not just to survive but to find a home.
Presented in conjunction with the AWM’s special exhibit My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today, this program is part of the Jeanne M. & John W. Rowe program series, a series of conversations with leading contemporary writers about their latest work and their thoughts on themes of identity, home, belonging and the meaning of what it is to be American.
About How Much of These Hills Is Gold:
Ba dies in the night; Ma is already gone. Newly orphaned children of immigrants, Lucy and Sam are suddenly alone in a land that refutes their existence. Fleeing the threats of their western mining town, they set off to bury their father in the only way that will set them free from their past. Along the way, they encounter giant buffalo bones, tiger paw prints, and the specters of a ravaged landscape as well as family secrets, sibling rivalry, and glimpses of a different kind of future.
Both epic and intimate, blending Chinese symbolism and re-imagined history with fiercely original language and storytelling, How Much of These Hills Is Gold is a haunting adventure story, an unforgettable sibling story, and the announcement of a stunning new voice in literature. On a broad level, it explores race in an expanding country and the question of where immigrants are allowed to belong. But page by page, it’s about the memories that bind and divide families, and the yearning for home.
Praise for How Much of These Hills Is Gold
“This moving tale of family, gold, and freedom rings with a truth that defies rosy preconceptions. The description of human and environmental degradation is balanced by shining characters who persevere greatly.”
—Library Journal, STARRED
“This exhilarating novel unweaves the myths of the American West and offers in their place a gorgeous, broken, soulful, feral song of family and yearning, origin and earth. C Pam Zhang is a brilliant, fearless writer. This book is a wonder.”
—Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
“The journey of these two children—and the backstories of their parents—force us to confront just how white the history we’ve been taught is…Zhang asks readers to acknowledge a legacy we have been taught to ignore by creating a new and spellbinding mythology of her own. Aesthetically arresting and a vital contribution to America’s conversation about itself.”
—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED
Born in Beijing but mostly an artifact of the United States, C PAM ZHANG has lived in thirteen cities across four countries and is still looking for home. She’s been awarded support from Tin House, Bread Loaf, Aspen Words and elsewhere, and currently lives in San Francisco.