Discover the Power of Art in Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng is back with her third novel, Our Missing Hearts.

In her debut and sophomore novels, Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng has shown her audience that she has an incredible skill to frame difficult and substantial world issues in the intimate setting of a family. In particular through the lens of a relationship between a mother and her child. 

Her most recent work, Our Missing Hearts, is no different and she does so brilliantly as she shares with her readers a dystopian (not so distant). A familiar world that has evolved from a fear of the unknown and racist legislation directed towards the Asian American population that rings true to the headlines of today.

Our Missing Hearts follows a young half-Chinese American boy named Bird Gardner after the departure of his mother. His mother Margaret is a Chinese American poet whose poem, the titular Our Missing Hearts, became inspiration for student-led protests that led to the death of a student and made her an enemy of the government, putting Bird and his father in danger. The reader follows their individual narratives as they attempt to reunite with each other in a country that is parting children from their parents as a form of punishment and intimidation.

Bird, who now goes by a new and more socially accepted name of Noah in the fallout of his mother’s disappearance, goes through the motions living with his father in Cambridge as he searches for clues to his mother’s whereabouts. During his search, he notices the tiny acts of rebellion that signal a change and restlessness in his community that signal something he is only starting to comprehend.

Margaret, an idealist and former anti-establishment poet has taken refuge in New York for the three years since her disappearance. She seeks refuge with her wealthy estranged friend from college as she searches for change and a way to reunite with the family she had to abandon to protect. In her time away she begins to hatch a plan to shed light on the atrocities happening throughout the country and to tell the stories of the children, like her own, that have been torn away from their families. 

In Our Missing Hearts Celeste Ng asks her readers the question, how far is too far to create change and what power does art have in creating it? Ng also asks us as a reader and as a part of society, how will we respond to the injustice of others when it’s right in front of us?

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng is out now and available for purchase at your local independent bookstore or wherever fine books are sold.

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