'Chemistry' and 'Sour Heart' are available now.
Authors Weike Wang and Jenny Zhang have produced debut fictions about Asian American women.
Their novels explore Asian American women’s coming of age from different perspectives, according to Kydo News.
In Wang’s novel, Chemistry, follows the story of a scientist in training who struggles with the acceptance of her Chinese immigrant parents. The 28-year-old author grew up in a family of scientists and began writing the novel whilst studying in a Harvard PhD program.
Speaking to Kyodo News, Wang said Chemistry‘s protagonist wants to “escape certain stereotypes that were always put on her.”
“The idea that you are disciplined and you work very hard, you are good at math and science, and therefore you are a robot, (that) you are like a calculator without creativity — she deals with that,” Wang added. “That’s something I had to deal with.”
“I think if you are a writer or a poet, you are allowed to talk about death and suffering, the idea of human nature. But if you are a scientist, that is not something you talk about,” said Wang.
Zhang’s Sour Heart follows Asian immigrants who move to New York City with artistic aspirations but end up falling into dire poverty, resorting in working low paying jobs in order to survive. The novel is divided into seven stories narrated by daughters from different Chinese immigrant families.
Speaking about the stories, Zhang said Sour Heart inverts “the expectation of sweetness being good and sourness being bad.”
“I also wanted to show that even within a framework that is very difficult and bitter and sour, there is something enjoyable about that,” she added.
The 33-year-old author is an established essayist and poet. Her poetry collection Dear Jenny, We Are All Find was published in 2012.
“A lot of problems that I was coming up against when I was in college, like when a relationship fails, I always think that this has to be tracked back to something that happened in my early childhood,” Zhang said.