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Four Treasures of the Sky

by Jenny Tinghui Zhang

Michael Joseph

1882. Daiyu never wanted to be like the tragic heroine for whom she was named, revered for her beauty and cursed with heartbreak.

Daiyu grew up in a comfortable home in a small fishing village in China. When her parents disappeared under mysterious circumstances, her grandmother sent her to Zhifu for her safety but at the age of thirteen she was kidnapped, taught to speak English and smuggled across an ocean from China to America.

Over the years that follow, she is forced to keep reinventing herself to survive. From a happy-go-lucky childhood, to a calligraphy school, to a San Francisco brothel, to a shop in a mining town in the Idaho mountains, we follow Daiyu on a desperate quest to outrun the tragedy that chases her. As anti-Chinese sentiment sweeps across the country in a wave of unimaginable violence, Daiyu must draw on each of the selves she has been—including the ones she most wants to leave behind—in order to finally claim her own name and story.

An arresting coming of age story weaving the art of calligraphy and the Chinese legend of Daiyu into a heart-breaking period of American history.

Zhang’s transporting story of perseverance in the face of shocking injustice resonates across cultures, and also feels sadly relevant to today’s world.―Washington Post

The prides and prejudices of the Old West blaze to life in Zhang’s propulsive, fable-like novel…Zhang skillfully embellishes her novel with Chinese characters, suggesting that language is our most potent weapon against oppression.―Oprah Daily

Zhang’s debut novel imaginatively illuminates an often overlooked aspect of American history that resonates powerfully today, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and concurrent anti-Asian violence…

Fierce and moving…Zhang delves into the history of violence and prejudice against Chinese people in the U.S. with her debut, a lyrical and sweeping Bildungsroman…The author skillfully delineates the many characters and offers fascinating details on Chinese calligraphy and literature, along with an unsparing view of white supremacy.―Publishers Weekly

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