Jean Rhys said that "reading makes immigrants of us all," that "it takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere." Now more than ever, it's vital—and heartening—to read, and read widely. We'll read thrilling, mind-blowing, intriguing, heartbreaking, comic, strange, and/or provocative books by women of color—and, each month, we'll gather to talk about what we've read! When possible, we'll also have the writer join us.
June/July's book is NUMBER ONE CHINESE RESTAURANT by Lillian Li
About NUMBER ONE CHINESE RESTAURANT
The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland, is not only a beloved go-to setting for hunger pangs and celebrations; it is its own world, inhabited by waiters and kitchen staff who have been fighting, loving, and aging within its walls for decades. When disaster strikes, this working family’s controlled chaos is set loose, forcing each character to confront the conflicts that fast-paced restaurant life has kept at bay.
Owner Jimmy Han hopes to leave his late father’s homespun establishment for a fancier one. Jimmy’s older brother, Johnny, and Johnny’s daughter, Annie, ache to return to a time before a father’s absence and a teenager’s silence pushed them apart. Nan and Ah-Jack, longtime Duck House employees, are tempted to turn their thirty-year friendship into something else, even as Nan’s son, Pat, struggles to stay out of trouble. And when Pat and Annie, caught in a mix of youthful lust and boredom, find themselves in a dangerous game that implicates them in the Duck House tragedy, their families must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice to help their children.
Generous in spirit, unaffected in its intelligence, multi-voiced, poignant, and darkly funny, Number One Chinese Restaurantlooks beyond red tablecloths and silkscreen murals to share an unforgettable story about youth and aging, parents and children, and all the ways that our families destroy us while also keeping us grounded and alive.
ABOUT LILLIAN LI
Lillian Li is the author of the novel Number One Chinese Restaurant, forthcoming from Henry Holt in June 2018. Her work has been published in Guernica, Granta, Glimmer Train, and Jezebel. She is the recipient of a Hopwood Award in Short Fiction, as well as Glimmer Train's New Writer Award. She received her BA from Princeton and her MFA from the University of Michigan. Originally from the D.C. metro area, she lives in Ann Arbor.
Books ($12) will be ready for pick up at The Ruby by June 10.