In her first collection of stories since the acclaimed Who’s Irish?, the beloved author of The Resisters refracts the fifty years since the opening of China through the lives of ordinary people.
Beginning with a cheery, kindly letter penned by a Chinese girl in heaven to “poor Mr. Nixon” in hell, Gish Jen embarks on an eleven-story journey through U.S.-Chinese relations, capturing not only the excitement of a world on the brink of tectonic change, but the all-too-human encounters that ensue as East meets West.
Opal Chen reunites with her sisters in China after a hiatus of almost forty years; American Arnie Hsu clashes with his Chinese girlfriend, Lulu Koo, who wonders why Americans “like to walk around in the woods with the mosquitoes”; Tina and Johnson Koo take wholly surprising measures to reestablish contact when their “number one daughter,” Bobby, stops answering her phone in New York; and Betty Koo, brought up on “no politics, just make money,” finds she must square her mother’s philosophy with the repression in Hong Kong.
With their profound compassion, equally profound humor, and unexpected connections, these masterly stories reflect history’s shifting shadow over our boldest decisions and most intimate moments. Gradually accruing the power of a novel as it proceeds, Thank You, Mr. Nixon furnishes yet more proof of Jen’s enduring place among the most eminent of American storytellers.