Longlisted for the Pen/Open Book Award
June 4th, a woman gives birth alone in a Beijing hospital alone. Thus begins the unraveling of Su Lan, a brilliant physicist who until this moment has successfully erased her past. When Su Lan dies unexpectedly 17 years later, it's her daughter Liya who inherits the silences and contradictions of her life. Liya, who grew up in America, takes her mother's ashes to China - to her, an unknown country. In a territory inhabited by the ghosts of the living and the dead, a portrait of Su Lan emerges: an ambitious scientist, an ambivalent mother, and a woman whose relationship to her own past shapes Liya's own sense of displacement.