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Joan Is Okay: A Novel (Hardcover)
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A witty, moving, piercingly insightful new novel about a marvelously complicated woman who can’t be anyone but herself, from the award-winning author of Chemistry
“A deeply felt portrait . . . With gimlet-eyed observation laced with darkly biting wit, Weike Wang masterfully probes the existential uncertainty of being other in America.”—Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere
ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—Esquire, BuzzFeed, Bustle, Town & Country, Ms. magazine, The Millions, Electric Lit, Lit Hub
Joan is a thirtysomething ICU doctor at a busy New York City hospital. The daughter of Chinese parents who came to the United States to secure the American dream for their children, Joan is intensely devoted to her work, happily solitary, successful. She does look up sometimes and wonder where her true roots lie: at the hospital, where her white coat makes her feel needed, or with her family, who try to shape her life by their own cultural and social expectations.
Once Joan and her brother, Fang, were established in their careers, her parents moved back to China, hoping to spend the rest of their lives in their homeland. But when Joan’s father suddenly dies and her mother returns to America to reconnect with her children, a series of events sends Joan spiraling out of her comfort zone just as her hospital, her city, and the world are forced to reckon with a health crisis more devastating than anyone could have imagined.
Deceptively spare yet quietly powerful, laced with sharp humor, Joan Is Okay touches on matters that feel deeply resonant: being Chinese-American right now; working in medicine at a high-stakes time; finding one’s voice within a dominant culture; being a woman in a male-dominated workplace; and staying independent within a tight-knit family. But above all, it’s a portrait of one remarkable woman so surprising that you can’t get her out of your head.
About the Author
Weike Wang was born in Nanjing, China, and grew up in Australia, Canada, and the United States. She is a graduate of Harvard University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry and her doctorate in public health. Her first novel, Chemistry, received the PEN/ Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, the Ploughshares John C. Zacharis First Book Award, and a Whiting Award. She is a “5 Under 35” honoree of the National Book Foundation and her work has appeared in The New Yorker. She currently lives in New York City.
“Meticulously researched and skillfully told, in Katherine J. Chen’s capable hands, Joan becomes fully flesh and achingly real.”—Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Lost Friends
“An epic novel with the mythic power of a fairytale. Gripping, resonant, and illuminating.”—Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and The Exiles
“When you look up the term ‘historical fiction’ in the dictionary it should say, simply, Read Katherine J. Chen.”—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Kaiser’s Web
“A wholly original novel that inspires one’s mind and awakens one’s soul. With Joan, Katherine J. Chen has created nothing short of a masterpiece.”—Alyson Richman, USA Today and internationally bestselling author of The Lost Wife
“A remarkable reimagining. Beautifully written and confidently told, this is a story of how feminine strength and will can change the world.”—Megan Chance, bestselling author of A Splendid Ruin
“This Joan is of the earth—scrappy and strong, resilient and curious. An ambitious, thrilling novel, rich with captivating detail.”—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnolia Palace
“Katherine J. Chen has stunningly summoned another time and place.”—M.J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Tiara
“Visceral and piercing—I was blown away.”—Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post
“A glorious, sweeping novel. Richly imagined, poignant and inspiring.”—Jennifer Saint, internationally bestselling author of Ariadne
“Every era has a need to recast the French maiden warrior in a manner that renews her relevance. In Chen’s transporting prose, you will meet a towering new Joan of Arc, one of amazing physical strength, kindness, loyalty, and endurance.”—Sena Jeter Naslund, New York Times bestselling author of Ahab’s Wife, Four Spirits, and Abundance