How Much of These Hills Is Gold

How Much of These Hills Is Gold

Book - 2020
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Newly orphaned children of immigrants, Lucy and Sam are suddenly alone in a land that refutes their existence. Fleeing the threats of their western mining town, they set off to bury their father in the only way that will set them free from their past. Along the way, they encounter giant buffalo bones, tiger paw prints, and the specters of a ravaged landscape as well as family secrets, sibling rivalry, and glimpses of a different kind of future.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, [2020]
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780525537205
Branch Call Number: F ZHANG-C
Characteristics: 272 pages ; 24 cm


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Mar 03, 2021

Hard and yet lovely too.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Nov 28, 2020

An interesting look at a family of Chinese descent during the California Gold Rush. Structurally this is a bit uneven, but definitely an author to watch.

Oct 25, 2020

To me is a no star book. The prose was too stilted, ( a word then a period) could only get to page 30! It felt the words were SHOT at you. The story wasn't interesting either - too much of decomposing body of father being dragged around to find 'home' to bury.

Sep 22, 2020

Booker long list. This is an epic family saga that paints a different picture of the American West and American dream and a different perspective on the immigrant experience. Interesting.

ACL_ChrisS Aug 29, 2020

Incredibly interesting! Both in the terms of the plot and the lyrical writing style. It is heart wrenching and brutal sometimes and achingly beautiful other times. A different view of how the west was settled. She squeezes in so much, not only an adventure story and a story of the lives of Chinese people in gold country, but also an environmental message, will of which is so necessary for this time.

Jun 28, 2020

I was surprised by the lyrical quality to the writing based on the descriptions of this book. The desert is almost a character at one point. I loved the history it contained and the characters.

May 28, 2020

Lucy and Sam are the daughters of Chinese immigrants who arrive to make their mark on the gold fields of California only to face bitter disappointment. Debut writer Zhang plums the depths of America’s manifest destiny myths to tell this family story of two young plucky orphans. Definitely echoes Faulkner’s 'As I Lay Dying.' 'Washington Post' reviewer said, ‘Because the reader’s vision of Sam is predominantly Lucy’s, the novel shows how the stories we tell ourselves and others are often incomplete — and that goes double for the stories we tell about other people. “Isn’t that the greatest joke?” Sam asks Lucy late in the book as she denounces the “gold men” who claim this land as theirs alone.’

Quite a story, if more like fable, than realistic fiction. Bleak, at times. Last third has better pace. Kirkus reviewer sums up this way: ‘The journey of these two children—and the backstories of their parents—force us to confront just how white the history we’ve been taught is. Aside from fictions—some fanciful inventions, some hateful lies—about Native Americans, we don’t hear much about the experiences of people of color and immigrants in shaping the West. Zhang asks readers to acknowledge a legacy we have been taught to ignore by creating a new and spellbinding mythology of her own.’ I got Zhang’s big themes, but was left unfulfilled. I thought I’d like this more.

sotto_sis Apr 15, 2020

A short, immersive read, and the language and storytelling are exquisite. I look forward to more from this author.


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