Booksmith and Berkeley Arts & Letters are thrilled to present an evening with #1 New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere – and if you were at Booksmith for our Little Fires event with Celeste, you'll be as excited as we are – to celebrate her highly anticipated follow-up novel, Our Missing Hearts. She will be joined in conversation by nationally bestselling author of The Incendiaries and Booksmith BFF R.O. Kwon. Please join us!
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.
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. Author photo by Kieran Kesner.
R.O. Kwon’s nationally bestselling first novel, The Incendiaries, is being translated into seven languages and was named a best book of the year by over forty publications. The Incendiaries was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award and Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Prize, and was a finalist or nominated for five other prizes. Kwon and Garth Greenwell coedited the bestselling Kink, which is a New York Times Notable Book and the recipient of the inaugural Joy Award. Kwon’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Guardian, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Yaddo, and MacDowell. Born in Seoul, Kwon has lived most of her life in the United States. Author photo by Smeeta Mahanti.
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