Weike Wang, Chemistry

Monday, April 9, 2018 - 7:00pm

Award winning novelist Weike Wang will join us for a discussion and signing of her latest book, Chemistry, a luminous coming-of-age novel about a young female scientist who must recalibrate her life when her academic career goes off track; perfect for readers of Lab Girl and Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You. Wang will be in conversation with Angie Sijun Lou, a PhD student in Literature and Creative Writing at UC Santa Cruz.

Three years into her graduate studies at a demanding Boston university, the unnamed narrator of this nimbly wry, concise debut finds her one-time love for chemistry is more hypothesis than reality. She's tormented by her failed research--and reminded of her delays by her peers, her advisor, and most of all by her Chinese parents, who have always expected nothing short of excellence from her throughout her life. But there's another, nonscientific question looming: the marriage proposal from her devoted boyfriend, a fellow scientist, whose path through academia has been relatively free of obstacles, and with whom she can't make a life before finding success on her own. Eventually, the pressure mounts so high that she must leave everything she thought she knew about her future, and herself, behind. And for the first time, she's confronted with a question she won't find the answer to in a textbook: What do I really want? Over the next two years, this winningly flawed, disarmingly insightful heroine learns the formulas and equations for a different kind of chemistry--one in which the reactions can't be quantified, measured, and analyzed; one that can be studied only in the mysterious language of the heart. Taking us deep inside her scattered, searching mind, here is a brilliant new literary voice that astutely juxtaposes the elegance of science, the anxieties of finding a place in the world, and the sacrifices made for love and family.

Chemistry starts as a charming confection and then proceeds to add on layers of emotional depth and complexity with every page. It is to Wang’s great credit that she manages to infuse such seriousness with so much light. I loved this novel.” —Ann Patchett

“A spiky, sparkling slip of a novel . . . with a singular take on love, lab science, and existential crises.” —Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly “10 Best Books of the Year So Far”
 
“A genuine piece of literature: wise, humorous, and moving.” —Ha Jin
 
“With its limpid style, comic verve, and sensitive examination of love, need, and aspiration, this exquisitely soul-searching novel is sure to be one of the most outstanding debuts of the year.” —Sigrid Nunez

Weike Wang is a graduate of Harvard University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry and her doctorate in public health. She received her MFA from Boston University. Her fiction has been published in or is forthcoming from Alaska Quarterly Review, Glimmer Train, The Journal, Ploughshares, Redivider, and SmokeLong Quarterly. She is a 2017 “5 Under 35” honoree of the National Book Foundation.

EVENT DETAILS: This free event will take place at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Open seating. Seats are generally set up one hour prior to the event's start time.

Staff Pick Logo
Chemistry (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525432227
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 3rd, 2018

 

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