READ How Much of These Hills Is Gold ✓ eBook ePUB or Kindle PDF

READ How Much of These Hills Is Gold

READ How Much of These Hills Is Gold ✓ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ↠ An electric debut novel set against the twilight of the American gold rush two siblings are on the run in an unforgiving landscape trying not just to survive but to find a homeBa dies in the night; Ma is already gone Newly orphaned children of imAnd storytelling How Much of These Hills Is Gold is a haunting adventure story an unforgettable sibling story and the announcement of a stunning new voice in literature On a broad level it explores race in an expanding country and the uestion of where immigrants are allowed to belong But page by page it's about the memories that bind and divide families and the yearning for ho. I read this for the second time 8 months after first reading it My second reading was following its longlisting for the 2020 Booker Prize something which as per my original review's ending did not surprise me at all My views on a second read were similar to my own although I did appreciate the clear environmental message in the book this time around Because this land they live in is a land of missing things A land stripped of its gold its rivers its buffalo its Indians its tigers its jackals its birds and its green and its living To move through this land and believe Ba’s tales is to see each hill as a burial mound with its own crown of bones Who could believe that and survive Who could believe that and keep from looking as Ba and Sam do always toward the past And so Lucy fears that unwritten history Easier to dismiss all Ba’s tales as tall ones—because believe and where does it end If she believes that tigers live then does she believe that Indians are hunted and dying If she believes in fish the size of men does she believe in men who string up others like linefuls of catch Easier to avoid that history unwritten as it is except in the soughing of dry grass in the marks of lost trails in the rumors from the mouths of bored men and mean girls in the cracked patterns of buffalo bone Easier by far to read the history that Teacher Leigh teaches those names and dates orderly as bricks stacked to build a civilization Still Lucy never uite escapes that other The wild one It prowls the edges of her vision an animal just beyond the campfire’s glow That history speaks not in words but in roar and beat and blood That history made Lucy as the lake made gold Made Sam’s wildness and Ba’s limp and made the yearning in Ma’s voice when she speaks of the ocean But to stare down that history makes Lucy dizzy as if she peers from the wrong end of a spyglass to see Ba and Ma smaller than her Ba and Ma with bas and mas of their own across an ocean bigger than the vanished lake The genesis of this novel was in a short story available here and which serves as a great introduction to the two key characters in the novel its themes and its writing style which now forms the opening of the novelTwo just orphaned Chinese descent siblings 12 year old Lucy the third party narrator and her 11 year old sister Sam who dresses and largely identifies as a boy head out into post Gold rush ’62 California wilderness with a horse they stole from Lucy’s old schoolteacher and the body of their gold prospector turned coal miner turned secret prospector fatherThe book is told in four sections the first in ’62 tells of Lucy and Sam’s escape and Sam’s uest both for a burial place for their father and a hidden wilderness where he believes that giant buffalo and even tigers still roam The second goes back to ’59 and tells of the events that lead to their escape their mother having been buried in an unmarked grave by her father after the premature still birth of their younger brother in a storm shortly after a small fortune that the family had accumulated so as to buy a passage back to China had been taken from them an event which lead to their father’s descent into despondency alcoholism and domestic violenceBoth sections are recounted in an evocative and descriptive prose shot through with description of the still basic Wild American West each section featuring chapters named Gold Plum Salt Skull Wind Mud Meat Water or Blood and where each chapter’s title captures a crucial and elemental part of the essence of the life described in it with Lucy’s memory of the Chinese folklore snatches of language and Zodiacal 12 hour system again that system often informing the events of the chapter The motif a Tiger – precious to their mother – reoccurs freuentlyThe third section is a departure – a single chapter posthumous account by their father of his and their mother’s backstory an account which as it proceeds appears not so much as having been discovered and read posthumously as written posthumously and unreadundiscovered by LucyThe fourth it set 5 years after the first and returns to the chapter structure of the first two – the now 17 year old Lucy living in a town having been befriended by a Gold mine heiress has her immersion into some form of domesticity thrown up in the air by the return of Sam after five years of gambling prospecting possibly stealing and adventure Sam’s arrival is preceded by a rumoured Tiger hunting on the outskirts of the town – something which is not coincidental Sam and Lucy then head for the Coast and passage to China as their past threatens to catch up on them The American West described in the tale has some seeming anomalies – not least the Tiger and Buffalo – and possesses something of a mythical natureThis is very deliberate; the author has said of the realisation that crucially inspired the writing of the book Generations of authors have molded the mythology of the American West for their own purposes I grew up on John Steinbeck’s East of Eden Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove Awed I believed the settings of those books to be gritty factual real As an adult I’ve learned how much of the West in those stories is fiction or exaggeration – including their overwhelming whiteness I don’t appreciate those books any less Rather I take from them the lesson that I too have the freedom and audacity to invent the lesson that we call history is not granite but sandstone – soft given form by its carvers And hasn’t that always been the way of the American West epic and beautiful conflicted and stolen paradoxical and maddening which has so captured the imagination that it is difficult to disentangle the myths from reality In particular her own myth remolding serves as a way to examine two key aspects the meaning of truth and history and who gets to tell it and the timeless pressures of the immigrant experience – particularly the second or third generational immigrant caught between two lands Both are captured in the passage which opens my reviewLucy over time realises the power of paper – and of who is writing the story As a child she is temporarily taken under the wing of a school teacher who has travelled from the East Coast on a self motivated charitable enterprise to teach the miner’s children and to document his results and sees Lucy as a special project The teacher smiles “He who writes the past writes the future too’ Do you know who said that” He bows “I did I’m a historian myself and may reuire your assistance in my newest monograph When later following Sam retaliating to some racist bullying they are summarily expelled by him “You may go” the teacher says at last “All the work we’ve done is useless now” His voice is bitter “You understand I’ll be removing you from the history—there’s no value in a half finished chapter Later in the town the framed deeds to the Gold holdings of her friends father stand in stark contrast to her father’s undocumented Gold discoveries and their different fates her father dying in poverty robbed of what he had her friend’s father wealthy and powerful from what he has legally taken from others act as a constant reminder of the power of paper and writing to control legitimacyIn terms of the immigrant experience Lucy herself is caught by conflicting pressures and yearnings Her own conservative inclination is towards civilisation safety anonymity and she is most intrigued by the tales she hears from her short term schoolteacher of the American East But Lucy liked to hear about the next territory and the next one even farther East Those flat plains where water is abundant and green stretches in every direction Where towns have shade trees and paved roads houses of wood and glass Where instead of wet and dry there are seasons with names like song autumn winter summer spring Where stores carry cloth in every color candy in every shape Civilization holds the word civil in its heart and so Lucy imagines kids who dress nice and speak nicer storekeepers who smile doors held open instead of slammed and everything—handkerchiefs floors words—clean A place unimaginable in these dry unchanging hills A place where two girls might be wholly unremarkable In Lucy’s fondest dream the one she doesn’t want to wake from she braves no dragons and tigers Finds no gold She sees wonders from a distance her face unnoticed in the crowd When she walks down the long street that leads her home no one pays her any mind at all Repeatedly even in the melting pot of the West she is made aware of her foreigness and lack of belonging of course by those who have only just stolen the land from the Indians and the buffalo – her appearance always marking her out causing people to uestion her origins and making it clear This land is not your land Her thoughts are further confused by the different identities and even tricks to remember them that are drummed into her from a young age by her father keen to make it clear that the land belongs to her and she to it and her mother keen to remind her of her family base Ba taught this trick when Lucy was three or four Playing she’d lost sight of the wagon The enormous lid of sky pinned her down The grass’s ceaseless billow She wasn’t like Sam bold from birth always wandering She cried When Ba found her hours later he shook her Then he told her to look up Stand long enough under open sky in these parts and a curious thing happens At first the clouds meander aimless Then they start to turn swirling toward you at their center Stand long enough and it isn’t the hills that shrink—it’s you that grows Like you could step over and reach the distant blue mountains if you so chose Like you were a giant and all this your land You get lost again you remember you belong to this place as much as anybody Ba said Don’t be afeared of it Ting wo Ting le Ma asked holding her hands over Lucy’s ears Silence for that first moment Then the throb and whoosh of Lucy’s own blood It’s inside you Where you come from The sound of the ocean A tension captured in There’s no one like us here Ma said sadly and Ba proudly We come from across the ocean she said We’re the very first he said Special he said Overall an entertaining story one which I can see featuring on prize lists this yearMy thanks to Little Brown for an ARC via NetGalley

C Pam Zhang ´ 8 READ

An electric debut novel set against the twilight of the American gold rush two siblings are on the run in an unforgiving landscape trying not just to survive but to find a homeBa dies in the night; Ma is already gone Newly orphaned children of immigrants Lucy and Sam are suddenly alone in a land that refutes their existence Fleeing the threats of their western mining town they. On the Booker Prize LonglistThis is an astonishingly stunning timeless and original piece of epic historical adventure fiction from the truly talented C Pam Zhang that heartbreakingly resonates in our contemporary world today She fuses myths and fiction that comprise history and those that write it with the cultural folklore and myths that immigrants and their families bring with them in their conflicts struggle and search for identity a sense of belonging and home amidst their efforts to survive in the face of abuse exploitation and relentless hostility to their presence Set in the dying days of the Californian gold rush the non linear narrative is structured into four parts stitching together the past present and future of the Chinese American siblings 12 year old Lucy and 11 year old Sam Having already suffered the loss of their mother Lucy and Sam lose their father Ba a coal miner turned gold prospector becoming orphans in a threatening environment They leave with the body of their father seeking the right place to bury him The siblings are very different Lucy seeks stability security a home community anonymity wanting to learn to be than she is These are never going to options that are open to her it is constantly made clear her that they will never belong Strange hypocrisy and ironic that these judgements and thinking comes from those who are themselves recent immigrants with a history of having stolen from and murdered indigenous communities Lucy becomes aware of the power of writing of documents and deeds enabling the practice of legally stealing with impunity of the legitimacy conferred by writing history even if so much of it is untrue Sam may well be a girl in terms of gender but as far as she is concerned she identifies as a boy and she wants a different future than the one Lucy desires In a story of family the history of the ravaged American West adventure where family history is posthumously written fantastical symbolic tigers and buffalo roam free Lucy and Sam begin together only to separate but are destined to come together again Zhang writes the most exuisite of prose in this unforgettable beautifully imagined storytelling with its magical realism elements of the complexities of family of the commonality of the immigrant experience the conflicts the place of the culture and traditions of the home they have left the battle to survive the need to weave a new sense of identity issues surrounding gender race and the wall of hostility endured in the place that has now become home This may well be historical fiction but Zhang's novel speaks to us of our world as it is now of how little has changed of people driven by their fears and insecurities to blame immigrants for all their woes ruthlessly exploited by populist politicians ensuring that the immigrant experience remains a emotionally heartbreaking nightmare Highly recommended Many thanks to Little Brown for an ARC

READ Í eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ´ C Pam Zhang

How Much of These Hills Is GoldSet off to bury their father in the only way that will set them free from their past Along the way they encounter giant buffalo bones tiger paw prints and the specters of a ravaged landscape as well as family secrets sibling rivalry and glimpses of a different kind of futureBoth epic and intimate blending Chinese symbolism and re imagined history with fiercely original language. 3★“She thinks of Ba salting his game Of salt to scour iron Of salt in an open wound a burn that purifies Salt to clean and salt to save Salt on a rich man’s table every Sunday a flavor to mark the passage of the week Salt shrinking the flesh of fruit and meat both changing it buying time”Lucy and Sam have gone over a hilltop and seen a salt flat on the other side They are twelve and eleven on their own leaving the mining country where they’ve been raised They are outcasts from the mining camp near where they lived The first part of their ‘escape’ is like something out of Cormac McCarthy or uentin Tarantino Gross and grisly I won’t go into thatI began to seriously uestion why I was reading this when I got to this part on page 24 They load a trunk “long as a man is tall” onto the back of a horse “Sam throws rope over Nellie’s back ties some slipknots Sam only grunts putting a shoulder under the trunk to heave it up Sam’s brown face goes red then purple from effort Lucy lends her shoulder too The trunk slips into a loop of rope” Kids can have enough trouble slinging a heavy saddle over a horse and that's designed to slip into place A trunk No way And Nellie is not a packhorse or mule that might be used to this kind of handling She is not even their horse who is used to them Enough about horsesWe learn that they are ‘different’ and we’ve heard bullies call them Chinks Foreign Strange But Ba their father was actually born ‘here’ and raised by the local native tribe Ma came from across the water but it’s a long time into the story before we have some idea of what her background is“ Home sounds like a fairy tale that Ma reads from a secret fourth book written on the backs of her shut eyelids Ma speaks of fruit that grows in the shape of stars Green rocks harder and rarer than gold She speaks the unpronounceable name of the mountain where she was born”The book opens with the family settling into a hut of sorts while Ba works in the coal mines The gold had run out and coal was what was worth money – for the mine owners not for the workers But Ba insists that this is only temporary They are prospectors not miners There’s a hierarchy and a class system everywhere and they are the lowliest of the lowIn the beginning Ba and Ma are presented one way but later as the children learn the truth of their relationship it changes the way we interpret what we read before That's interesting but it wasn't enough to keep my attention Maybe I was still fixated on the trunkI was also becoming annoyed with what I think of as writing school writing By that I mean exercises in putting odd words together to create interesting phrases to attract attention Some people create wonderful word pictures but they are apt and enhance the story and move it forward I really dislike unnecessary metaphors and similes especially those that are forced andor don't really make sense I feel like they were collected and saved up but don't fit I believe the author is well regarded and this book is being touted as a prize winner so I will leave that to others to decide These are a few phrases that some people will love but which annoy me“What he consumed seemed only to feed his temper which stuck to his side like a faithful old cur” “Sam’s tapping an angry beat come morning but Lucy before they go feels a need to speak Silence weighs harder on her pushes till she gives way” “Sam commences to talk as if speech is a coin hoarded for these past three months”I chose to read this because I usually enjoy reading about migrants settling into different cultures but never being accepted because they look different That means they don’t look like northern Europeans Why that should be the default appearance for acceptable migrants to the United States and Australia where I live now is beyond me Both countries have many generations of Asians particularly Chinese and both are the better for it But fifth generation people who ‘look’ Asian are still asked “Where do you come from” And the answer “San Francisco” or “Sydney” isn’t enoughI did read the whole book and I'm sure there will be plenty of fans I'm just not one of them Thanks to NetGalley and Virago for the preview copy from which I’ve uoted