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Our Missing Hearts (2022)

af Celeste Ng

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,5727911,330 (3.92)49
Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in Harvard University's library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve "American culture" in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic-including the work of Bird's mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old. Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn't know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn't wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is drawn into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change. Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It's a story about the power-and limitations-of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact"--… (mere)
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» Se også 49 omtaler

Engelsk (78)  Tysk (1)  Alle sprog (79)
Viser 1-5 af 79 (næste | vis alle)
I liked the writng in this book more than I liked the content. this dystopian novel was very frightening and showed how easy it is for dictators to rule. it was upsetting to read this at this time in this state, country, and world. The first part was very interesting, but much of the second and third parts of the book were tedious. the ending came so quickly and unfortunately, was much too uncertain itself. it's fine that i read this book, but it is the least favorite of ng's books that i've read. i was personally pleased that librarians were portrayed as saviors, as so often that is true. ( )
  suesbooks | Apr 10, 2024 |
In the timeless tradition of The Handmaid's Tale and Fahrenheit 451, Ng tackles a dystopian future that is woven tightly with reality. The country has made it through a crisis, but the PACT legislation that resulted from a place a fear has only increased prejudice and suspicion of Asian Americans. It's not much of a leap to believe this could happen, which is what makes the story so powerful. She focuses on the families whose children are ripped away from them in order to "protect" them from sedition indoctrination. Ng has been hit of miss for me in the past. I enjoy her books, but never before have I felt rocked by the quiet emotion this one held. It's a dark future, but one that is based in past actions of both this country and others. When we silence those who are willing to question authority, we are no longer free.

“If we fear something, it is all the more imperative we study it thoroughly.”

“Librarians, of all people, understood the value of knowing, even if that information could not yet be used.”

“Maybe, she thinks, this is simply what living is: an infinite list of transgressions that did not weigh against the joys but that simply overlaid them, the two lists mingling and merging, all the small moments that made up the mosaic of a person, a relationship, a life.” ( )
  bookworm12 | Mar 13, 2024 |
The library where I work chose this for their "one book" this year. One of the more depressing books I've read in the past 12 months. Maybe because I live in the area it's even easier to imagine, and maybe because it seems plausible in this election year. In an America post "crisis," Asian Americans are the out group, because people associate them with China, the major bad player. Not only are Asians the out group, but anyone not deemed patriotic enough can have their children removed! That is a really scary prospect, since if you disagree with the government, you will be deemed unpatriotic.

The book was okay for me; not as good as Little Fires, but thought-provoking. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Feb 13, 2024 |
I listened to the audio version read by Lucy Liu. Generally I'm not a fan of dystopian literature but I enjoyed this book. ( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
Representation: Biracial (half white and half Asian), Black, Asian and Latina characters
Trigger warnings: Death of a father from a fall and a mother, blood, grief and loss depiction, physical assault and injury, animal cruelty, systemic racism, explosions, racist and sexist slurs, gun violence, murder
Score: Six points out of ten.
This review can also be found on The StoryGraph.

I saw this book hiding on the shelves of one of the two libraries I visit when I couldn't find the novels I wanted (that being Throne of Glass and The Love Hypothesis) so after some consideration I picked it up and finally read it. When I finished it, the concept initially sounded promising but unfortunately, it underwhelmed me. Perhaps the author's other works are better than this one as I don't want a suboptimal impression of her only because I started with a dissatisfying reading experience.

It starts with the main character Bird Gardner or Bird for short living in a near-future version of America where everything looks typical except for one law: PACT, or Preserving American Culture and Traditions Act. At first glance, the act is to promote American patriotism but it is a façade for a legal excuse for anti-Asian (specifically Asian American) hate. Here's where the flaws surface: I couldn't get over the fact that throughout the narrative, there are no quotation marks, which made it harder for me to separate dialogue from the narration. I appreciate the author writing a story with plausible worldbuilding that could exist in this world only in a few years but the writing of the characters missed the mark because I couldn't connect or relate to them. The government can also displace Asian children to live with non-Asian families, which felt familiar and displeased me.

I don't understand the decision Margaret Miu (Bird's mother) made to abandon her son to go live somewhere else (it could have something to do with hiding from the authoritarian anti-Asian government. Or another reason.) Bird lives with his father in the opening pages complying and conforming with PACT until a cryptic letter arrives at his house, and so he sets out to discover where that came from. He also tried to search for Margaret's books (one of them is a poem with the same name as the work, and another is about cats.) At first, he couldn't find it but one library was hiding it for 'research purposes' (I think they're preserving them even though there is now an Asian book ban but that begs the question: do they only ban Asian literature or can they ban other diverse works of fiction? Would such a work be prohibited if it was about an Asian but a non-Asian author wrote it? Say there's one about a non-Asian protagonist, but an Asian author wrote it. What would happen then? Is the rest of the world this totalitarian or is it only America? These questions remain unanswered, much to my confusion.

Bird goes to Margaret's house and that's where the backstory begins (there's a lot of it, and unfortunately, it leaves not much room for the plot) detailing how PACT came to be and the only reason for that is that after the economic Crisis, America played the blame game, used Asians as a scapegoat and created PACT as a lawful excuse for hate crimes against them. I enjoyed reading that and the silent protests, but I wished there was more substance to what I read. The conclusion wasn't outstanding either as it was too open, letting me down. ( )
  Law_Books600 | Jan 17, 2024 |
Viser 1-5 af 79 (næste | vis alle)
"I won’t give away the splendid conclusion of Ng’s book ... The gears in this story for the most part mesh very well. And Bird is a brave and believable character, who gives us a relatable portal into a world that seems more like our own every day."
tilføjet af lquilter | RedigerNew York Times, Stephen King (Sep 22, 2022)
 
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Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in Harvard University's library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve "American culture" in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic-including the work of Bird's mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old. Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn't know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn't wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is drawn into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change. Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It's a story about the power-and limitations-of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact"--

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