Four Treasures of the Sky, Jenny Tinghui Zhang

The hair and face of a woman is conceptually drawn in light blues onto a darker blue background. There is an orange dolphin sprouting from the top with the title in white over it all

“I am not afraid of death. I am afraid of no longer living.”

Daiyu lived a simple life with her parents until her life wasn’t simple at all. Put through horrific trials, Daiyu never gave up hope. She has kept secrets all to protect her life and her future.

Four Treasures is lyrically written. From the landscape to simple actions, it’s beautifully descriptive and leaps off the page. After she learns calligraphy, she carries that through her time in the states. We see how much that means to her, and it’s stunning.

Loosely based on events in the past, Four Treasures tells of a time of anti-Chinese sentiment that is not often written about in literature. I appreciate the author’s note at the end and recommend everyone read it. This book will enthrall and break you and is a must-read.

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About the Book

Daiyu never wanted to be like the tragic heroine for whom she was named, revered for her beauty and cursed with heartbreak. But when she is kidnapped and smuggled across an ocean from China to America, Daiyu must relinquish the home and future she imagined for herself. Over the years that follow, she is forced to keep reinventing herself to survive. From a calligraphy school, to a San Francisco brothel, to a shop tucked into the Idaho mountains, we follow Daiyu on a desperate quest to outrun the tragedy that chases her. As anti-Chinese sentiment sweeps across the country in a wave of unimaginable violence, Daiyu must draw on each of the selves she has been—including the ones she most wants to leave behind—in order to finally claim her own name and story.

At once a literary tour de force and a groundbreaking work of historical fiction, Four Treasures of the Sky announces Jenny Tinghui Zhang as an indelible new voice. Steeped in untold history and Chinese folklore, this novel is a spellbinding feat.

Read this review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub.


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