"The magnificence and splendor of modern Shanghai come to life" in Lucy Tan's 'WHAT WE WERE PROMISED'
WHAT WE WERE PROMISED, Lucy Tan's debut novel is out today, and she's taking over Little, Brown's Instagram to celebrate!
Set in modern Shanghai, this debut by a Chinese-American writer is a family saga about a prodigal son whose unexpected return forces his newly wealthy family to confront painful secrets and unfulfilled promises.
After years of chasing the American dream, the Zhen family has moved back to China. Settling into a luxurious serviced apartment in Shanghai, Wei, Lina, and their daughter, Karen, join an elite community of Chinese-born, Western-educated professionals who have returned to a radically transformed city.
One morning, in the eighth tower of Lanson Suites, Lina discovers that a treasured ivory bracelet has gone missing. This incident sets off a wave of unease that ripples throughout the Zhen household. Wei, a marketing strategist, bows under the guilt of not having engaged in nobler work. Meanwhile, Lina, lonely in her new life of leisure, assumes the modern moniker taitai-a housewife who does no housework at all. She is haunted by the circumstances surrounding her arranged marriage to Wei and her lingering feelings for his brother, Qiang. Sunny, the family's housekeeper, is a keen but silent observer of these tensions. An unmarried woman trying to carve a place for herself in society, she understands the power of well-kept secrets. When Qiang reappears in Shanghai after decades on the run with a local gang, the family must finally come to terms with the past and its indelible mark on their futures.
From a silk-producing village in rural China, up the corporate ladder in suburban America, and back again to the post-Maoist nouveaux riches of modern Shanghai, What We Were Promised explores the question of what we owe to our country, our families, and ourselves.
WHAT WE WERE PROMISED was named:
An Amazon 'Best Book of the Month for July' Pick
One of "60 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2018"by Huffington Post
One of Refinery29's Brilliant Books to Bring to the Beach This Summer
One of the "10 Most Anticipated Novels of the Summer" by The Every Girl
Praise for WHAT WE WERE PROMISED:
"Tan's talent as a storyteller clearly shines through her strong plot lines and characterization; readers will want to know more about each well-crafted player in the story . . . . A novel of class, culture, and expectations; readers who enjoyed works like Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians will likely find Tan's surprising and down-to-earth tale an entertaining read."—Library Journal
"A quietly brilliant book, and a truly singular debut."—Arna Bontemps Hemenway, award-winning author of Elegy on Kinderklavier
"A beautifully rendered debut with vivid characters who will stay with readers long after the last satisfying page."—Judith Claire Mitchell, author of A Reunion of Ghosts
"With its measuring of expectation against reality, What We Were Promised establishes Tan as a new talent with a sharp eye for the intricacies of human relationships."—Shelf Awareness
For more from Lucy, check out her essay on Lit Hub , "On Falling in Love with the Language I've Spoken My Entire Life," and her BuzzFeed list of "13 Books To Read While You're Waiting For 'Crazy Rich Asians.'"
WHAT WE WERE PROMISED is available here.