cover image Made in China: A Memoir of Love and Labor

Made in China: A Memoir of Love and Labor

Anna Qu. Catapult, $26 (224p) ISBN 978-1-646-22034-2

Qu rewrites the bootstrap narrative of immigrants building a better life for their children in her grim and entrancing debut. Her “path to the American dream” amounts to a devastating story of abuse and abandonment, beginning in 1985 Wenzhou, China, when her mother left her as a toddler with her grandparents “to start a new life” in America. Her disappointment “steeped like tea, growing dark and bitter” until her mother came back for her in 1991. While she was away, Qu’s mother “[left] behind her country manners” and married (and had two children with) the owner of the Queens sweatshop where she worked. When Qu arrived in America, she learned English and excelled at school, but was forced to work in the sweatshop under the watch of her mother, whose “fury ran so deep, every word dripped with resentment and venom.” She eventually reported her parents to authorities, and with the help of child services, was able to come to a “truce” with her mother. Even in revisiting her harrowing memories, Qu writes from a place of empathy, transcending pain to embrace hope: “Sacrifice is in every generation of our family. I am no exception.” This marks the arrival of a promising new voice. Agent: Duvall Osteen, Aragi. (Aug.)