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Home Remedies

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,275 ratings  ·  228 reviews
In twelve stunning stories of love, family, and identity, Xuan Juliana Wang’s debut collection captures the unheard voices of an emerging generation. Young, reckless, and catapulted toward uncertain futures, here is the new face of Chinese youth on a quest for every kind of freedom.

From a crowded apartment on Mott Street, where an immigrant family raises its first real Ame
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Hogarth
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A gorgeous collection of short stories that centers the Chinese millennial experience and spans topics like immigration, family, romance, and how where we come from affects how we relate to others. This is going to be a lop-sided review because I have to first focus on my favorite story from this collection, “Vaulting the Sea.” “Vaulting the Sea” made my poor gay heart break and heal and ache as I cheered for its queer protagonist Taoyu. This story focuses on Taoyu and his best friend Hai, a pai ...more
A strong debut collection of short stories. Billed as being specifically about the Chinese millennial experience, but in fact it's rather broader than that; there's nothing about 'unconventional sex lives' or 'fantastic technologies' in here either. (That blurb is weird.) The 12 stories are sorted into three sections: 'Family', 'Love', and 'Time and Space'. One of the most exciting things about this collection is its variety of voices and tones, the sense that each new story represents a complet ...more
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really really good! These mostly realistic stories worked exceedingly well for me - especially those that were told unchronologically in a way that I have not encountered in short stories before. This way of telling a story is something I particularly enjoy, so I was very pleased when I realized what Wang was doing. Not every story did work for me but enough did that I will be reading whatever she writes next. I also cannot get over the absolutely stunning cover.
I’m usually not a huge fan of short story collections, mainly because I don’t like the “incomplete” nature of short stories and the feeling I always get that I’m being left hanging. One of the things I detest most when I’m reading is to get deep into a story and its characters, only to have it end abruptly, with no logical conclusion to speak of – the ones that annoy me the most are those that feel like the author stopped in the middle of a thought and the writing all of a sudden drops off (thes ...more
luce (currently recovering from a hiatus)
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While browsing a charity shop I picked up this collection of short stories. What drew me the most to Home Remedies was its cover (bright pink in my edition), and while I wasn't expecting to like every single story, I hoped that I would find a few to be memorable. Sadly, none of the stories drew me in. Wang examines some serious—and potentially compelling—themes (generational differences, dislocation and deracination, familial expectations vs. personal identity) but
Jenny (Reading Envy)
The spirit of these stories are 21st century Chinese youth with less baggage and more autonomy, whether they are in China (Beijing mostly) or elsewhere.

This was another story collection from the Tournament of Books longlist.

My favorite stories (linked to literary mags when available):
-Mott Street in July
-Home Remedies for Non-Life-Threatening Ailments
-Vaulting the Sea
This collection of short stories blew me away. One doesn't expect such level of expertise and command of the genre from a first collection, but Wang is definitely a short story writer. She may go on to write novels as well, but this is a genre she owns.

This is one of those cases in which the author's being a "millennial" is incidental. The themes are universal. The writing is fantastic. Amazing.
Betsy Robinson
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a remarkable, imaginative collection of stories. There is nothing here that I've seen before. The garden of Chinese characters is exotic to me simply because I've known nothing about them. The writing is elegant, sophisticated, and sometimes mature beyond what I would expect from somebody who looks as young as Wang does in her photo. Stories range from self-entitled rich kids who I didn't know existed in Communist China to old souls who understand growing old and loss and change.

Kudos to th
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite sensations as a reader is stumbling across something perfect and unexpected, something you weren't looking for and never knew you needed, and you come away feeling richer for the experience. Home Remedies does that, repeatedly, with each strange little slice of life feeling like a concentrated burst of observation, a window into a truly strange stranger's head, rendering a consistently alien experience somehow relatable, while your brain marinates in a stew of subtle details t ...more
Paris (parisperusing)
"Taoyu sent Hai's name echoing in the halls of the dormitory. … he ran … to him at full speed. He needed something that only Hai could give him. He knew it was love. Only Hai could replace his wasted heart with his own." — "Vaulting the Sea," Xuan Juliana Wang

Wang wields the raw, cathartic quality of a storyteller who can render her readers to tears with no effort at all. A reader like me, especially, who sobbed in the corner of a coffee shop as I pored over these characters and the bottomless d
Inderjit Sanghera
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The series of stories which make-up 'Home Remedies' explores the experiences of the 21st century Chinese diaspora both in China and across the Western world. Two themes permeate the stories; firstly the sense of dislocation and displacement felt by the nouveau rich, a sense that money and materials goods will somehow replace the sense of spiritual emptiness engendered by their sense of rootlessness. Secondly is the strange sense of angst brought about by living in the modern world; a world domin ...more
Megan Tristao
HOME REMEDIES is a collection of 12 stories about Chinese millennials, both in the U.S. and China. I wish I hadn't waited so long to write this review ... I remember the following stories as being the strongest for me: "Mott Street in July," "Days of Being Mild," "For Our Children and Ourselves" and "Algorithmic Problem Solving for Father-Daughter Relationships." I also like short stories with unique structures, so the title story ("Home Remedies for Non-Life-Threatening Ailments") was a stand-o ...more
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So bleak. A collection of short stories that are all sad, melancholic or downright depressing. The writing is good, some nice poetic turns of phrases and it's rather impressive how many different bleak scenarios the author managed to come up with.

Lost immigrants in America, lost young adults in materialistic China, lost second generation immigrant kids between two cultures, no emotional connections between humans. Without a single happy end for any of the characters, these stories leave you dec
Bill Hsu
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I understand the enthusiasm for these stories. I wish the execution was more consistent though. A couple ("The Art of Straying Off Course", for instance) didn't do anything for me at all. ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
via my blog:
'It’s what Taoyu wanted, to disappear from Hai’s life completely, to leave a wound that would ache. That was the only way they could be equals.'

Home Remedies is a gorgeous collection of stories about Chinese immigration, family structure, love, sex and the privilege of choices. The future for each character is never certain, and splits open guiding them to places they never imagined they would be. Home, some make their way in American life with
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: race, short-stories, lgbt
This is a great debut collection! I share the consensus about "Vaulting the Sea" being a favorite. Wang masterfully intersects individual Asian experiences with the societies they exist in, giving these stories both a grand and intimate feel. ...more
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
oh i really, really loved this, it's just about so many things and so well-written and moving ...more
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-release
“What do we really have but our moral consciousness?”
Audra (ouija.reads)
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
A stunning debut short story collection that is about so much more than just the young Chinese voices it captures. Wang’s voice is strong and distinct, different in every story, which is quite a feat of its own. I felt each of the characters inhabiting the pages, almost as if they could have held their own novel instead of just fifteen to twenty pages. I can’t wait to see what is next from this writer.

There are three parts to the book, “Family,” “Love,” and “Time and Space,” and I had a favorit
Michelle Lu
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this! I don’t typically like short stories cuz they feel like one night stands- weirdly intimate but always leaving me hanging.

This is a collection of stories about...what felt like the “modern” chinese, chinese american, chinese diaspora experience. THIS IS WELL WRITTEN- easy, poetic, emotional, interesting, moving. Though I’m chinese american, i don’t know much about the different pockets of subcultures in Chinese twenty somethings, and this was a lovely fictional look into underground a
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is ok. I was excited to read it because it's a collection of short stories from various perspectives of Chinese millennials and some of the stories are set in familiar places, like the Bay Area. However, almost all of these stories felt like talking to someone who seems to have a lot more depth than they actually do, when you get to know them. I feel like I've known these types of people before--who seem really ~broken~ and ~lost~ and if they have money and privilege, use it as a means ...more
Rhiannon Johnson
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read my review on my blog:

**I was given an advanced copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

Let me cut to the chase...I've added Wang to my "auto-buy" authors list. If this is her debut, I can only imagine what else is to come...and I'm excited for it! Her ability to create layers of depth in each short story and characters who are complex, ambitious, and achingly unsure of themselves had me tearing through thi
Ryan Mishap
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A very good collection that takes us around the globe while maintaining focus on the individual characters. I'm quite a fan of the those short stories that use the last page or paragraph to jump forward in time and have the character looking back and the technique is employed beautifully here--sometimes painfully as we realize that people who do bad things aren't usually punished or even regretful.

Kamila Kunda
Apr 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china, own, asia, fiction
Xuan Juliana Wang’s “Home Remedies” is a very fresh collection of short stories. Fresh in the sense that it breaks with the more traditional way of tackling immigration or identity by older generations of Chinese-American authors. Wang is a millennial, just 7 years younger than I am, and as she said in the conversation in the podcast Between the Covers (which made me buy and read her book in the first place), she comes from a place of “not trying to make my parents understand me; not setting mys ...more
Aug 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Xuan Juliana Wang's debut collection of short stories, Home Remedies, is split into three sections, 'Family', 'Love' and 'Time' - though I wasn't sure this division was necessary, as while the stories do fall into certain groups, they don't mirror these themes. Wang showcases her versatility by writing in a number of different registers. One lot of stories - 'Days of Being Mild' - 'Fuerdai to the Max' - are told in first-person and focus on young Chinese people living either in China or in the U ...more
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
It's overall well done technically but I was underwhelmed.

-each story is different and innovative (different from one another; nothing repeated)
-the punchline or climax is flat or nonexistent, (and I often wondered if I missed something or if the story was unformed or incomplete; some experiment that peters out near or at the end)
-stories are quirky, verging on gimmicky at a certain point (and makes me wonder if short stories should be packaged in a collection...or read serially)
-tone and style
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Home Remedies was a very compelling assemblage of stories about the dilemmas and sense of not belonging as it pertains to transplanting one's roots elsewhere.

One of my favorite stories was The Strawberry Years that dealt with the harsh reality of how people view social media and the heights one will take to please others. A woman develops a compulsive interest in a man's apartment because her followers have fallen in love with the place while she is live streaming. The story gets pretty eerie fr
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I won an ARC in a Goodreads giveaway; this did not influence my review.

Two and a half stars.

Wang's stories vary greatly in tone and style, and while the stories are divided into three sections, most deal in some way with family or romantic relationships. I found some of the stories too mired in metaphor, while others only provided kaleidoscopic views into characters. A few stories especially captured my interest but I rarely found the endings satisfying. Characters in some were compelling and we
Mar 07, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pansing
12 stories of love, family, friendship and self-discovery. Young and reckless, of youths with passion and uncertain futures. I was brought to travel through experiences of these characters; on silhouette of their daily encounters with those feeling of anxiety, despair or hope. It gives me bit of ennui and that subtlety mundane vibes which making it quite unique and raw. The diversity of the storyline were not that much variation -- same melancholic and emotional feels with unsettled characters f ...more
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