15 Sweet Shots of Jenny Zhang’s ‘Sour Heart’

best jenny zhang sour heart instagram picsInstagram (@randomhouse)

“What if Judy Blume and Salvador Dali took on immigrant life in America?” That’s how Lena Dunham describes author Jenny Zhang, whose explosive and subversive short story collection Sour Heart was released this summer.

In a nutshell, Zhang’s collection follows the lives of several different Chinese-American girls growing up in the ’90s, and Zhang tackles difficult topics like queer identity, poverty, and immigration while still maintaining a sense of humor.

Millions of eyeballs rolled when Dunham’s character Hannah Horvath proclaimed herself “the voice of her generation” on the first season of Girls. But Zhang, her protégé (Sour Heart is the first book published on Dunham’s LENNY Books imprint), may just be the real deal.

Check out these gorgeous shots of Sour Heart‘s simple yet distinctive cover, and be sure to tell us your thoughts if you’ve read it.
Disclaimer: The images used in this post do not belong to Paperback Paris, but to their accredited creators.

Another busy day of packing and cleaning today for me. Today my son and I tackled his room. I'm so happy that he was so willing to "get rid of" so many of his toys. I was getting a little worried about finding room for all of his "stuff" at our new place. 😥 Does anyone have any packing/moving tips for me? ☺️ . Well now, this one sounds pretty interesting and unlike anything I've seen. 💜 Thank you to @booksparks for this copy! ________________________________________________________ 📖Summary: Centered on a community of immigrants who have traded their endangered lives as artists in China and Taiwan for the constant struggle of life at the poverty line in 1990s New York City, Zhang’s collection examines the many ways that family and history can weigh us down and also lift us up. From the young woman coming to terms with her grandmother’s role in the Cultural Revolution to the daughter struggling to understand where her family ends and she begins, to the girl discovering the power of her body to inspire and destroy, these seven stories illuminate the complex and messy inner lives of girls struggling to define themselves. ________________________________________________________ #sourheart #jennyzhang #src2017 #booksparks #bookmail #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #booksandbeans #fiction #booknerd

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Jenny Zhang is a dang good writer and I had already read a few of her short stories before Sour Heart was released. So if you’re hesitant to pick up a short story collection, go read a few online by Jenny Zhang. Then come back and read her debut collection because you’ll now adore her and her stories. She writes about families, specifically the Chinese American experience. And while the subject matter can get dark she always has bits of humor that help keep the stories moving. I also appreciated her writing style – it’s not too flowery nor is it pretentious. Like she’s reading the story aloud to you. . . . I haven’t started this collection yet, but I’ll probably start it this weekend. If anyone wants to read with me, let me know 😊.

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Beach read. #jennyzhang

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Feels like summer! @jennybagel #gb.agency #jennyzhang #sourheart #lennyletter

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This debut story collection from Jenny Zhang is incredible and powerful–centered on a community of immigrants who have traded their endangered lives as artists in China and Taiwan for the constant struggle of life at the poverty line in 1990s New York City. Fueled by Zhang’s singular voice and sly humor, these seven vibrant stories illuminate the complex and messy inner lives of girls struggling to define themselves and introduce Zhang as a bright and devastating force in literary fiction. This debut collection is also the inaugural publication from Random House's Lenny Books imprint–a home for emerging voices in fiction and nonfiction and compelling, voice-driven narratives, Lenny Books and Jenny Zhang will be ones to watch! #newbooks #newreleases #debutfiction #sourheart #jennyzhang #storycollection #newimprint #lennybooks

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My thoughts on Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ . . I’m going to start by telling you that I really love short stories because they are usually all about the characters. Therefore, this book is probably not for everyone. There are some trigger warnings in the book for graphic child on child violence and sexual acts between young minors, but they do not occur in every story. Now, on to the review! . . Jenny Zhang is definitely the voice of today. In fact, it doesn’t at all surprise me that this book was published under Lena Dunham’s publishing imprint, Lenny. Her writing is unflinchingly and unapologetically honest. The words in these stories are stripped of any and all fluff, to the point of frequently leaving a bloody rawness. Zhang does not hold back on shocking the reader with very real situations (The first story starts with the narrator explaining that her family was too poor to buy a toilet plunger so they had to hold it in until they could make it to the convenience store bathroom downstairs in order to poop). While each story is its own, they occur in the same time and place, and characters from previous stories are loosely mentioned as you continue through the book. And although characters overlap between the narratives, the connections between the stories are so much deeper than that. . . Each short story is told from the point of view of a different pre-adolescent/adolescent girl, who is growing up among her Chinese-American immigrant family in New York City. The families in these stories are experiencing different financial, emotional, and psychological stresses that are incredibly authentic and relatable. The essential theme over-arching the entire book is family. Family history, family relationships and family dynamics, and how your relationship with your parents, siblings, grandparents and extended family changes as you grow. Zhang is endlessly examining the delicate line between feeling an intense and burning love for your family, and hating them so much you actually feel a desire to hurt and harm them. . (I ran out of characters and still have more to say. 🙈 See the comments below for the rest!)

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These were some of my faves of Sour Heart!

Share some of your favorite snaps in the comments below!

Justine Goode
the authorJustine Goode
Contributing Writer
LA-born reader. English major. Liberal with em-dashes.