Our Missing Hearts

by Celeste Ng

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Featured image for Our Missing Hearts

This is set in, I guess, the near future, possibly an alternate present, it’s tempting to claim it’s very different to the world we live in but in fact it’s a world very like the current one in way too many ways. Xenophobia has taken over America and the Chinese are the enemy, which of course covers all “persons of Asian origin” no matter that they’ve been in America for generations or that the vast majority of Americans are immigrants from other continents. I guess the book would fit under “near future dystopia” and as always that feels very much like the present day.

The story begins with a very YA feel to it as 12 year old Bird Gardner ponders the way his mother left him three years before and the changed circumstances of his family since. His mother turns out to be a Chinese-American poet who attracted the attention of the authorities. It’s a great story and it’s well told. I suspect the people who need to read and understand it won’t do, but the rest of us can revel in the power of librarians and fairy tales and resistance.