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Malala Yousafzai’s Fearless Book Club Pick for Literati
"Dazzling...Riveting." —New York Times Book Review
“Gripping and illuminating . . . At the heart of Te-Ping Chen’s remarkable debut lies a question all too relevant in 21st Century America: What is freedom?” —Jennifer Egan
“Immensely rewarding, from the first sentence to the last . . . An exceptional collection.” —Charles Yu
A “stirring and brilliant” debut story collection, offering vivid portrayals of the men and women of modern China and its diaspora, “both love letter and sharp social criticism,” from a phenomenal new literary talent bringing great “insight from her years as a reporter with the Wall Street Journal” (Elle).
Gripping and compassionate, Land of Big Numbers traces the journeys of the diverse and legion Chinese people, their history, their government, and how all of that has tumbled—messily, violently, but still beautifully—into the present.
Cutting between clear-eyed realism and tongue-in-cheek magical realism, Chen’s stories coalesce into a portrait of a people striving for openings where mobility is limited. Twins take radically different paths: one becomes a professional gamer, the other a political activist. A woman moves to the city to work at a government call center and is followed by her violent ex-boyfriend. A man is swept into the high-risk, high-reward temptations of China’s volatile stock exchange. And a group of people sit, trapped for no reason, on a subway platform for months, waiting for official permission to leave.
With acute social insight, Te-Ping Chen layers years of experience reporting on the ground in China with incantatory prose in this taut, surprising debut, proving herself both a remarkable cultural critic and an astonishingly accomplished new literary voice.
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“Chen emerges as a fiction powerhouse, each of her ten stories an immersive literary event…Traversing continents and cultures, moving effortlessly between China and the US, Chen deftly presents everyday lives that entertain, educate, and universally resonate.”
Booklist (starred review)
About Te-Ping Chen
Te-Ping Chen is an author whose fiction has been published by or is forthcoming from the New Yorker, Granta, Guernica, Tin House, and Bomb. She is a Wall Street Journal correspondent based in Philadelphia, where she writes about workplace issues. From 2014 to 2018, she was a Beijing-based correspondent for the paper covering politics, society, and human rights. Before that, she was a Hong Kong correspondent, covering the city’s politics and pro-democracy movement. Prior to joining the Wall Street Journal in 2012, she spent a year in China interviewing migrant workers as a Fulbright Fellow and worked as a China reporter for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington, DC.
About the Narrators
Lynn Chen has worked as an actress and a narrator. She is best known for playing Vivian Shing in the feature film, Saving Face. She has also starred on numerous television shows, such as Numb3rs, All My Children, Law & Order, and Saturday Night Live.
Christine Lakin is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and acclaimed television actress, best known for her roles as Alicia “Al” Lambert on the hit family comedy Step by Step and as Joan of Arc on Showtime’s Reefer Madness.
Jonathan Davis has been inducted into the Audible Narrator Hall of Fame. A three-time recipient and fourteen-time nominee of the Audie Award, he has earned accolades for his narration from the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, the American Library Association, Booklist, the Audio Publishers Association, AudioFile magazine, and USA Today. He has narrated a variety of bestsellers and award-winners for top publishing houses. He also narrated over forty titles of the Star Wars franchise for Lucasfilm Ltd./PRH Audio, including several iconic movie tie-ins, has participated with Star Wars Celebration, and has built a significant fan base. His work as a narrator includes films and programming for National Geographic Television, NOVA, PBS, VH1, and Francis Ford Coppola. He grew up in Puerto Rico and speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and Hebrew.
Dan Woren is an American voice actor and Earphones Award–winning narrator. He has worked extensively in animation, video games, and feature films. He is best known for his many roles in anime productions such as Bleach and as the voice of Sub-Zero in the video game Mortal Kombat.
Jim Meskimen is a stage, film, and television actor who has appeared in many well-known movies and television shows. He acted in Apollo 13 and Frost/Nixon for director Ron Howard, both of which were nominated for Best Picture Oscars. His television appearances include The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Friends, Lie to Me, Criminal Minds, and Parks and Recreation. He is also a painter, award-winning audiobook narrator, and audiobook director for Galaxy Audio.