A Quitter's Paradise (Used Hardcover) - Elysha Chang
In this novel by Elysha Chang, a young woman does everything she can to avoid the reality of her mother’s recent death and family’s estrangement, even as it becomes increasingly clear that her own story is inextricable from theirs.
Eleanor is doing just fine. Sure, she’s hiding things from her husband. True, she quit her PhD program and is now conducting unauthorized research on illegitimately procured mice. And yes, her mother is dead, and Eleanor has yet to return to her house to go through her things. But what else is she supposed to feel, exactly? What shape can grief take when you didn’t understand the person you’ve lost? What do you inherit from a mother who refused to make herself known, even to the people she loved most?
As A Quitter’s Paradise follows Eleanor’s winding journey to make sense of herself and her grief, her story is interwoven with those of her family members—from her parents’ lives in the military villages of Taipei, to their early days as immigrants in New York City, to Eleanor and her sister’s childhoods. Somehow, despite deep rifts in time, distance, and perspective, the Lius remain a family. But what does that truly mean? Why is it that what holds a family together can also be what pulls it apart?