Four Treasures of the Sky

Jenny Tinghui Zhang's breathtaking debut novel, Four Treasures of the Sky, opens like a traditional hero's journey but reads more like poetry, subtle but effective, taut without sacrificing immersion. This continent-hopping coming-of-age story set in the late 1800s follows young Daiyu as she traverses land and sea, from a fishing village in China to a San Francisco brothel to Idaho, a land without an ocean, bearing with her a hope in the face of crushing tragedy and anti-Chinese sentiment.

The result is a story that combines the tragic with the beatific, the historic with the folkloric. Zhang blurs these lines with such grace that the book reads easily, in spite of its heavy material. But it is the final few paragraphs that will stick between the ribs of any devoted reader. Zhang has accomplished a remarkable work of fiction that feels so real it stings, drawing numerous accolades, including a spot as a Good Morning America Book Club Buzz Pick. --Lauren Puckett

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