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On the night of the Tiananmen Square massacre, a woman gives birth alone in a Beijing hospital. Years later, her daughter Liya travels from America to China with her mother's ashes, hoping to unravel the legacy of silences and contradictions that she inherited from that night onwards.
As Liya seeks to untangle her family history, we travel through Shanghai and Beijing, and deep into the past, uncovering an unexpected love triangle whose repercussions reach up to the present moment.
Ambitious, multifaceted yet intimate, Little Gods is a gripping story of migrations both literal and emotional and of the tragic impact of history on individual lives.
'Enthralling'. - Guardian
'Little Gods is built from familiar tropes: love amid violence, lost parents, secrets held by those closest to us. But Jin brings a fresh imagination to them, thoughtfully leveraging the language of physics without making the narrative cold or overladen. Her ultimate principle is simple and effective: How do we preserve love in the face of the forces that threaten it?' - USA Today
"A haunting debut about memory, history, and who we truly are." - Popsugar
'Ambitious [and] formally complex...a powerful, poignant portrait of a woman crippled by her fear of looking back.' - Washington Post
'An intelligent, somewhat restrained look at the effects that tectonic political shifts have on ordinary citizens, effects that reverberate across the decades, and for its young American protagonist, even across oceans.' - San Francisco Chronicle
'Artfully composed and emotionally searing, Jin's debut about lost girls, bottomless ambition, and the myriad ways family members can hurt and betray one another is gripping from beginning to end. This is a beautiful, intensely moving debut.' - Publishers Weekly
'Brilliant....Elegantly written, emotionally compelling, and thought provoking on every page.' - The Millions
'If the mark of a good novel is its ability to delicately rewire the reader's brain, then Meng Jin has given us a very good novel....Little Gods is a page-turner--but all the while it winks, reminding us that possible explanations in our universe are as varied as the beings who populate it'. - The Paris Review, Staff Pick
'Jin's richly textured, unsparing writing questions whether a self can exist unmarked by the past.' - New Yorker