Gish Jen’s World and Town is the story of a recently widowed schoolteacher who attempts to start her life over in a small New England town. Hattie’s search for quietude is soon disrupted, first by the arrival of a refugee Cambodian family and second by a love from her past. World and Town was recently featured as part of the Reading Group Center’s Recipe by the Book series. Click for a free recipe for Cambodian rice pudding, the perfect treat to eat while discussing the book.
Praise for World and Town:
“[A] triumph of a novel…. Jen reflects America, at its best, its worst, its most vulnerable. World and Town is her richest, warmest work yet.” —The Miami Herald
“What a pleasure to read this smart, warm novel from Gish Jen…. As this humane novel shows . . . only active compassion will build a better world and town.” —The Washington Post
“Remarkable…. World and Town practically sings.” —Entertainment Weekly
“An imaginatively questioning and shrewdly written novel of our times.” —The Boston Globe
“I love the voices in this book—each compelling, each contributing to the layered story. . . . You will find yourself swept up and completely absorbed by this polyphonic and immensely moving novel.” —Allegra Goodman, author of The Cookbook Collector
“One of Jen’s greatest strengths is her fluid point of view, which she employs beautifully here…. Nothing is fixed for these unsettled characters, who keep trying to build new lives in a bewildering world, and whose victories, when they come, bring not rapture but ‘a defining grace, bittersweet and hard won.’” —The New York Times Book Review
“For nearly two decades, Gish Jen has been chronicling the experience of immigrants in America with a sure hand and an amused, affectionate eye. Her ability to inhabit varied minds and hearts without drawing attention to her efforts evokes the passionate omniscience of George Eliot.” —Whole Living
Click to read an excerpt from World and Town.