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This month’s Fiction title


Joan is okay : a novel

by Wang, Weike
Joan is a thirtysomething ICU physician at a busy New York City hospital. The daughter of Chinese parents who moved to America 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 according to their own cultural and social expectations. Once Joan and her brother, Fang, were established in their careers, their 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 imagine. Deceptively spare and quietly powerful, laced with sharp humor, Joan Is Okay touches on deeply resonant matters: being Chinese American right now, working in medicine at a high-stakes time, being a woman in a male-dominated workplace, and saying independent within a tight-knit family. But above all, it’s a portrait of a remarkable woman so marvelously surprising that you can’t get her out of your head.


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