Monday, September 18, 2023

Nine books about women’s loneliness

Cleo Qian (she/her) is a fiction writer and poet from California. She received her MFA from NYU. Her work has appeared in over 20 outlets; was a winner of the Zoetrope: All Story Short Fiction Competition; has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, twice longlisted for the DISQUIET Prize, and supported by Sundress Academy for the Arts. By day, she works at a nonprofit and reads self-help articles on how to be happy.

Her debut short story collection is Let's Go Let's Go Let's Go.

At Electric Lit Qian tagged nine books about women’s loneliness and the search for connection, including:
Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang

Jenny Zhang’s groundbreaking short story collection, primarily following Chinese American daughters in Queens, New York, is full of vulgarity, vomit, and wit. The girls and teenagers in the stories grapple with poverty and second languages, and inheritances from parents with failed dreams. They are often shipped off to Shanghai and come home to New York again. From the first piece we are handed painful self-awareness of feeling separate from others (“While I could still improve in either language, my parents could not, they were on a road to nowhere…it was up to me to shine and that scared me because I wanted to stay behind with them, I didn’t want to go any further than they could go.”) as well as brash disdain for others who might feel the same (“She was just a desperately lonely person who needed to be part of someone else’s world.”) Not far underneath the bravado is desperation—raw and unapologetic desperation to be seen, and to not be forgotten.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue