Chemistry - Weike Wang

Staff Pick
The unnamed narrator of Wang’s winning and insightful novel is working on her PhD in synthetic organic chemistry, but the chemistry she really needs to learn is the one that makes relationships click. The prodigy daughter of high-achieving Chinese American parents, she’s always strived to meet their demanding expectations. Then, suddenly, she just can’t. Her lab work falters. She’s unable to accept or decline her boyfriend’s marriage proposal. She has a breakdown, loses both academia and love, but realizes how angry she is. Coming to terms with her past becomes her next project. She starts seeing a shrink. She gets a dog and helps care for a friend’s baby—valuable apprentice work in forming ties with others. She’s also trying to figure out her relationship to science, and the book’s brief sections include facts from the three things—“math, physics, and chemistry”—her father said would “make you fearless.” Wang’s protagonist now uses these as a lens on her own emotional state. The many Chinese proverbs she cites serve a similar function, and soon she can see her parents in a new light—and they aren’t the fierce tiger couple they’d always seemed.
Chemistry: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524731748
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - May 23rd, 2017

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