Jenny Zhang on Chinese American Immigrant Culture Shock, Family Expectations & Freeing Her Voice

Listen to Jenny Zhang here.

Poet and writer Jenny Zhang joined me to talk about her debut collection of stories “Sour Heart.” The first book from Lena Dunham’s Lenny imprint at Random House crackles with vivid and vital stories of newly arrived Chinese Americans adjusting to New York life. Like Zhang herself, many of her characters arrive in the US from Shanghai as young children, and are confronted with an alien language and parents struggling to bridge the cultural divide. In one story, a young girl devotes her lonely afternoons to concocting ways she can sacrifice as much as her parents did to get to America. In another, set in China during the Cultural Revolution in 1966, gangs of vigilante teens roam the streets enforcing the regime’s toxic dehumanizing rules, actions that haunt the characters decades later, even after they’ve escaped across the globe. These stories are as fresh and lively as they are illuminating and I hope you love hearing Jenny talk about them on the pod.
xxo Angie
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