by Celeste Ng
From the #1 bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere, comes one of the most highly anticipated books of the year - the inspiring new novel about a mother's unbreakable love in a world consumed by fear.
Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve "American culture" in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic -- including the work of Bird's mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old.
Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn't know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn't wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is pulled into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change.
Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It's a story about the power -- and limitations -- of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact.
"Firmly written and well-executed... a meditation on the sometimes accidental power of words... I won't give away the splendid conclusion of Ng's book; suffice it to say... It's impossible not to be moved by Margaret Miu's courage, or to applaud her craftiness... Ng succeeds... partly because her outrage is contained and focused, and mostly because she is often captivated by the very words she is using... Bird is a brave and believable character, who gives us a relatable portal into a world that seems more like our own every day." -- Stephen King, The New York Times Book Review
"Suspenseful... Ng unflinchingly depicts acts of racism, family fragmentation and the violence seamed into American identity. Ng's book is also an homage to librarians who are the vanguard of resistance to PACT... Ng excels at narrative tension and at mustering readers' fear and outrage... a powerful reflection and grim augury... Like George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro and Octavia E. Butler, Ng pays close enough attention to write tomorrow's headlines." -- The San Francisco Chronicle
"[So] much of this utterly stupendous tale is hauntingly, horrifically, historically, currently all too real, from removing and caging children to anti-Asian hate crimes, violent protests, police brutality, and despotic (so-called) leadership. Yet Ng creates an exquisite story of unbreakable family bonds, lifesaving storytelling (and seemingly omniscient librarians!), brilliantly subversive art, and accidentally transformative activism. As lyrical as it is chilling, as astonishing as it is empathic, Our Missing Hearts arguably achieves literary perfection." -- Booklist
"Heart-wrenching and brilliant... This is the book I will pass down to my children when they ask me what it was like to live through this time in history: the pandemic, anti-Asian attacks, and the racial justice protests that have come to define our moment. It captures the difficulty of bearing witness at personal cost to oneself and caring about things even when they seem beyond fixing." -- The Boston Globe
About the Author:
Celeste Ng is the number one New York Times bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere. Her third novel, Our Missing Hearts, will be published in October 2022. Ng is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and her work has been published in over thirty languages.