Raising issues of immigration and emigration, cultural identity and so much more, The Leavers is the story of a mother, her son, and their extended families; of China and America and everyone struggling to find a place in the world and to do right by each other. It's sweet and sad and beautiful and more than deserves its place as a National Book Award finalist.
“Deming Guo's first six years of life were spent with his immigrant mother in New York, then China with a grandfather he's never met, and America again. After his mother disappears from her job at a nail salon, Deming is adopted by two professors and dropped into what feels like an alien, all-white suburb upstate. This pattern of early upheaval sets Deming - now Daniel Wilkinson - on a path marked by difference and isolation. As Deming's story unfolds, his mother's side of the story gradually comes to light, filling in holes and ripping others open, until finally, side by side, their disparate journeys form one complete portrait of the resilience of the spirit. This is a heartbreaking, poignant, beautiful book that will stay with you for a long time.”
— Caroline Froh, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
“In a time when immigration is a political issue, this novel puts a human face on a very complex situation. It tells the story of a woman who came to New York from China, created a family, was deported, and what happened after her sudden disappearance. This is an ambitious and compelling novel, told in sections alternating between Polly’s brash, bold, determined, loving, and frightened voice and son Deming’s confused, lonely, troubled one as he grows up under the adopted name of Daniel. Chosen by Barbara Kingsolver for the Bellwether Prize for the best novel to address issues of social justice, The Leavers will open your eyes and your heart.”
— Yvette Olson, Magnolia's Bookstore, Seattle, WA