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Little Gods

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  104 ratings  ·  36 reviews
“Meng Jin is a writer whose sweep is as intimate as it is global. Little Gods is a novel about the heart-wracking ways in which we move through history and time. A fierce and intelligent debut from a writer with longitude and latitude embedded in her vision.” -- Colum McCann

Combining the emotional resonance of Home Fire with the ambition and innovation of Asymmetry, a
ebook, 288 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Custom House
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Average rating 3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  104 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Angela M
Dec 11, 2019 marked it as abandoned-not-for-me
Giving up at 25%. I just can’t seem to connect with the distance I’m feeling from these characters.
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of literary fiction
Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I have a lot of complicated feelings about this one, which always seems to be the case with three-star books. Little Gods features three main characters who are all connected to a fourth character, Su Lan; their perspectives combine to create a portrait of her. Zhu Wen lived in the same building as Su Lan in Shanghai and helped her raise her infant daughter. Yongzong went to school
Jan 10, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, trauma
Beautiful cover art but I did not connect to any of the characters in "Little Gods". The tone felt awkward. I also didn't care for the writing style. It really bugged me that there wasn't any quotation marks for the dialogue. I found it extremely difficult to understand which character was speaking to whom. Normally I enjoy reading about conflicted mother/daughter relationships, but I just felt there wasn't enough character development. The characters weren't fleshed-out enough for my liking. ...more
Chris Blocker
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Meng Jin’s debut novel, Little Gods, is such a gorgeously constructed story. It’s built on a sturdy frame, decorated beautifully, but it will have some readers scratching their heads saying, but what is it? What does it mean? And that is to say that it is mysterious, clever, thought-provoking, and may leave you with several questions.

Su Lan is a brilliant physicist with an eye always to the future. Liya is gifted with language and searches for answers about her mother’s past. That’s all you need
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: literary-fiction
2.5 stars

A rather haunting story about a daughter's search for her mother and the exploration of the enduring and complicated relationship between them. The writing could be especially poignant at times, and the relationship between Liya and Su Lan, a convoluted mix of love and hatred, was expertly portrayed. I appreciated the way Su Lan's story was presented through the perspectives of other characters at various times in her life. She was a complex character, fully three dimensional with
Never Without a Book
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a character driven novel and I really enjoyed. Full thoughts to come.
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Beautifully written, but perhaps overwritten. I got to the end and just felt "blah" about it. Style over substance, I think.
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
I found this to be a complicated book about a complicated character. Hard to follow the story line as other reviewers have mentioned. Also, the ending didn't make any sense to me, which left me feeling unsatisfied.
James Beggarly
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extraordinary first novel about a brilliant woman from a small town in China who rises to the top of her high school, goes to the best university in Beijing and is able to take her young daughter and move to America. When the daughter is in college in America, her mother passes away and she goes to China to try and piece together who her mother really was. Unbelievably smart and ultimately very moving.
C Zhang
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Haunting, gorgeous, mysterious in a way that will sit with you
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written book. The characters are complex and stay with you long after you read it. Highly recommend it!
Shan Wang
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you read one book this year, it should be this one!!
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, fiction, giveaways
This was a tough book for me to get through. The main subject of the book is a physicist named Su Lan, who lives in Beijing and gave birth to a daughter on the night of the Tiananmen Square massacre. After she gives birth to the daughter, her mental state steadily declines. But rather than reading the book from her point of view, we get to know Su Lan from the point of view of four people who are greatly impacted by her life. The point of view hops between these four people periodically during ...more
Ryann Uden
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reading this novel was like diving into the ocean and being caught in wave after wave of stories that sweep you along for the ride. Su Lan gives birth in Beijing during the Tiananmen Square Massacre. This event serves as a the fulcrum of the story as it plays out both before and after, told through the eyes of the characters that orbit Su Lan's world: her husband, Yongzong, old friend Zhang Bo, daughter Liya and more. This is a compelling read that takes you across a generation in China and each ...more
Wendy Cosin
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meng Jin's debut novel Little Gods is primarily set in China between 1989 and 2007. The main character, Su Lan, is very complex. She is a physicist who is not quite of this world. After she is introduced in the first chapter giving birth during the Tiananmen Square Massacre, future chapters are told in the first person by three other characters who reflect on themselves and on her. We get a picture of life in Shanghai from two young men who studied with Su Lan in high school and her neighbor ...more
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is very different from anything I have ever read before, and this being the authors debut novel she is going to be writing great things. Her style is swift and catches your eye, and keeps you hooked from the beginning. I really enjoyed that it seems like the main character is being described in the perspectives and how they kind of impacted each others lives. Very enriching and the hunt for the answers Liya is looking for she finds are very interesting. The ending kind of confused me ...more
Alicia Allen
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I do not consider myself to be a highly intelligent person when it comes to theoretical anything, however, I found myself completely drawn in and immersed in this story.
Little Gods is a story about a woman running FROM her past, trying recreate herself and by doing so, her own daughter had to travel to her past TO figure out exactly who her mother was. I LOVED the way the story is told from different times throughout the book in the voices of 3 main characters, all of who crossed paths and lost
Sonya Loyer
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
279 pages and just released today.
This is a really interesting, character driven book. I just finished it. The majority of the book is set in China with years in America. The story is about Su Lan, a brilliant physicist, who gives birth to Liya during the Tiananmen Square massacre. Her husband leaves the hospital and Su Lan never sees him again. We know Su Lan only through the other characters and letters. Zhang Bo is another major character that doesn't have a direct voice. Each chapter is
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Intelligently written, complex novel exploring the realities of what experiences shape a person's life. Su Lan may be one of the most complex (there's that word again) characters I've run across lately. Born into extreme poverty, she rose to become a highly educated and intellectual physicist.
Told through the voices of 5 characters, they paint a fascinating portrait of what it was like to be living in china during the tianamen square massacre.
For me, one of the most prominent themes in this
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: debut-2020
I’ve been seeing a lot of other Good Reads reviews say this books is complex or complicated. Meng Jin’s debut is complexly written over mostly two timelines (1989 and 2007) and takes place mainly in China. However, the complexity to her prose is what made this one of the most rewarding reads for me this winter. Her grasp on language and how to explore time, memory, and place makes the complex plot extremely compelling. She touches upon relationships between mother and daughter, lovers, and ...more
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time. Human concepts of time are central to this novel. The well told story is of a woman in China, a physicist, and the people whose lives she intersects with and the event of her time, Tiananmen Square, and how it affects her and her family. The threads of this novel are here to contemplate well after the reader has completed the story.
I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. I recommend it to readers who like a story that provides food for thoughts.
Jodhpur Service
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Jeannine Wickliffe
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
I had some problems with this book in it being very disjointed. The story really starts with the birth of Liya in Beigeng. The story covers over 17 years and the return of Liya to China after her mother San Lu death. The story is interesting and told from several viewpoints but the ending is really confusing . I did enjoy it for the most part because it told the story of a young girl growing up never knowing the truth of her heritage. I enjoyed following her search for the truth but felt the ...more
Kathleen Gray
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Told in multiple voices, this story of Su Lan, a physicist and mother with mental health issues, is at times a challenge to read but worth the effort. Her daughter Liya, who has never understood her mother or known her father, brings her ashes back to China. Yongzong, Liya's father, has a different take on events than does Zhu Wen, who knew Su Lan in Beijing. It's not a straight line narrative but more a pastiche character study. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. For fans of literary fiction.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed hearing from different characters in this book, particularly Zhu Wen. I wish the entire book has been about her, because it didn’t feel like there was much to Liya outside of her consuming obsession with her mother. This is my own personal problem, but I had trouble deciphering why people acted the way they did in this book, leading to a disjointed sort of feeling, not aided by the structure of the book which, in other circumstances with a clearer sense of characters I would have found ...more
Nov 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a hard book for me, primarily because it felt nothing like other books I have read (in a good way). I found the chapter breaks to be just a bit long combined with a story that felt slow to begin with to make it hard to read more than one section at a time, which is the main reason for the 3/5.

Overall, this book was beautifully written. I just know it was the book for me, even if the story/concept was in itself compelling.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid, compelling debut from the author. There were many passages that I underlined and made me think. The story felt a little disconnected as times but it didn't diminish my overall reading experience. I look forward to reading more by Meng Jin. Thank you to the publishers and Edelweiss for an e-ARC of this book.
Janilyn Kocher
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Little Gods was an ok read. It was difficult to discern at the beginning since there were several story lines introduced. I didn't care for any of the characters. I didn't really understand the ending so I guess I missed something. The synopsis sounded so promising, but for me the book didn't deliver. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the early copy.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
A vibrant novel that intertwines the past, present, the US, China, the living and the dead. Complex and spare it’s beautifully written.

**I received an electronic ARC from NetGally in exchange for a fair and unbiased review of this book.
Alyssa Steele
DNF’d at 50 pages. I really wanted to give it more of a shot and read to at least 100 before making the decision to put it down, but I wasn’t enjoying the writing style and I found it very difficult to connect to any of the characters.
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine Editions - "Little Gods" by Meng Jin 2 14 Nov 16, 2019 02:50AM  

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