Chemistry

Chemistry Three years into her graduate studies at a demanding Boston university the unnamed narrator of this nimbly wry concise debut finds her one time love for chemistry is hypothesis than reality She s to

  • Title: Chemistry
  • Author: Weike Wang
  • ISBN: 9781524731748
  • Page: 319
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Three years into her graduate studies at a demanding Boston university, the unnamed narrator of this nimbly wry, concise debut finds her one time love for chemistry is hypothesis than reality She s tormented by her failed research and reminded of her delays by her peers, her advisor, and most of all by her Chinese parents, who have always expected nothing short of eThree years into her graduate studies at a demanding Boston university, the unnamed narrator of this nimbly wry, concise debut finds her one time love for chemistry is hypothesis than reality She s tormented by her failed research and reminded of her delays by her peers, her advisor, and most of all by her Chinese parents, who have always expected nothing short of excellence from her throughout her life But there s another, nonscientific question looming the marriage proposal from her devoted boyfriend, a fellow scientist, whose path through academia has been relatively free of obstacles, and with whom she can t make a life before finding success on her own Eventually, the pressure mounts so high that she must leave everything she thought she knew about her future, and herself, behind And for the first time, she s confronted with a question she won t find the answer to in a textbook What do I really want Over the next two years, this winningly flawed, disarmingly insightful heroine learns the formulas and equations for a different kind of chemistry one in which the reactions can t be quantified, measured, and analyzed one that can be studied only in the mysterious language of the heart Taking us deep inside her scattered, searching mind, here is a brilliant new literary voice that astutely juxtaposes the elegance of science, the anxieties of finding a place in the world, and the sacrifices made for love and family.

    One thought on “Chemistry”

    1. I'm between 3.5 and 4 stars, so I'll round up.Here's a bit of a cautionary tale for those of you who might put too much pressure on your children to succeed academically, or those of you who push yourself too hard."The optimist sees the glass half full. The pessimist sees the glass half empty. The chemist sees the glass completely full, half in liquid state and half gaseous, both of which are probably poisonous."Chemistry is spare and slightly quirky, yet it is surprisingly profound and moving. [...]

    2. 4.5 starsOne of the best novels I have read in 2017, Chemistry won me over with its earnest depiction of a Chinese American woman struggling to navigate her 20s. Our unnamed protagonist has always lived by the mantra "you must love chemistry unconditionally." She runs into trouble when, partway into her prestigious Chemistry PhD program, she encounters failure through a series of unfortunate events. To make matters worse, her kind and intelligent and successful boyfriend Eric has proposed to her [...]

    3. LINK TO MY FULL VIDEO REVIEW IS HERE!The way I feel about this book is why representation in books matters. Some themes include being raised in a collectivist culture (China specifically, and growing up in a country that places intensely high value on academic achievement - look up "gao kao", a series of tests after students finish high school that determine the good majority of their future, and the pressure that parents place on their children), and moving to a country that has more individual [...]

    4. "A Chinese proverb predicts that for every man with great skill, there is a woman with great beauty.In ancient China, there are four great beauties:The first so beautiful that when fish see her reflection they forget how to swim and sink.The second so beautiful that birds forget how to fly and fall.The third so beautiful that the moon refuses to shine.The fourth so beautiful that flowers refuse to bloom.I find it interesting how often beauty is shown to make the objects around it feel worse. Thi [...]

    5. I admit I am weary of novels about directionless twenty-somethings, they are often boring and derivative. But CHEMISTRY has a controlled sharpness. It is jagged. It never lets you fall into a rhythm and I love it for that. It takes the entire book to really understand the narrator, how she is hurt and how she tries to love, and even in her narration she will draw you in and then push you away.I studied Chemistry in college. Every bit of science (and there is a lot) rang true. Maybe the narrator [...]

    6. Follow booknationbyjen.wordpress for all my reviews and recommendations.I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this book titled Chemistry! Author Weike Wang’s unnamed narrator, a Chinese-American Ph.d. student, lives with her redheaded boyfriend behind her traditional parents’ backs. Despite the high expectations for their daughter to become a chemist, she is unable to be successful in her research, losing interest in her male dominated field and having difficulty making decisions re [...]

    7. Is it bad to relate super hard to a narrator that other reviewers describe as “unlikable”? Asking for a friend.(But seriously, is it?)Weike Wang’s debut novel is a patchwork of the narrator’s internal monologue, memories from her painful childhood, and vignettes of her relationship with a fellow graduate student. Oh, and scientific factoids. Despite how disjointed and piecemeal that sounds, it all comes together into a flowing, almost hypnotic read. The narrator (never named) has a perfe [...]

    8. I enjoyed reading this story. The main character and narrator is unnamed, she is a doctoral student in Chemistry who lives with her boyfriend Eric. She is Chinese-American and arrived to the U.S. with her parents when she was 6 years old. That is the main plot, but what the author does wonderfully is take us in a journey through the thoughts of the main character and listen to her inner dialog about the struggles with her relationships, parents, studies, and life in general.The book is well writ [...]

    9. "It was once believed that heart cells could not regenerate, that once they died they could not be replaced. Now it is known that the heart can renew itself. But the process is very slow. In an average person, the rate is 1 percent each year."I loved this book! It was a slow burn that steadily caught up with me, and punched me in the gut. Wang was so skillful at using facts about the sciences and language to drive home her ideas. It was genius, and I came away knowing a lot more about the "scien [...]

    10. This was so boring. There isn't much of a story, but what there is of one follows a young woman who is studying for a PhD in Chemistry. She soon drops out, and the rest of the book follows the aftermath. The story was written in such a simplistic way, devoid of any real emotion, and I get that this was probably to put across how the protagonist felt in her current situation but it was so monotonous. At least it was short and I didn't waste too much time on it, but I really wouldn't recommend thi [...]

    11. 3.5-4 stars. The narrator of this short novel has pushed herself for years academically, and now she's in a PhD chemistry program, and nothing's working out. Her experiment is a long series of failures, her boyfriend's asked her to marry and she can't seem to bring herself to say yes or no. And she holds such anger and pain in herself from the exceedingly high expectations put on her by her parents, who emigrated to the US from China years ago. The narrator's mother was deeply angry and frustrat [...]

    12. Chemistry is a difficult book to describe, but I was very glad I read it. Weike’s unnamed protagonist embarks on a soul-searching journey to find herself. Unmoored by her lack of success in the scientific realm and her indecision about whether to accept her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, she begins therapy and pursues a job as a science (specifically chemistry) tutor. The format of Chemistry really appealed to me. The story jumps around a fair amount in sync with the protagonist’s scattere [...]

    13. Chemistry was without a doubt my worst subject in high school. I have such a lingering resentment toward it that I almost dismissed Chemistry the novel for its title alone, but I was able to put my hatred of the subject aside long enough to really enjoy this - though I'm not sure 'enjoy' is the right word. This is an incredibly intense book, and I felt like I wasn't able to truly come up for air until I'd finished it.Chemistry is The Bell Jar meets The Vegetarian but also something a bit lighter [...]

    14. It was initially tough finding my way amidst the choppy verse. It’s disjointed and scattered - which makes sense as the narrator finds herself torn. Living up the the expectations that come with being a second generation Asian, navigating the perils of her Ph.D and trying to figure out what to do with the marriage proposal from her entirely devoted and loving boyfriend. Like Jill Alexander Essbaum’s Hausfrau, where the rules of grammar spill into the how that narrator navigates her relations [...]

    15. This novel has all the charm of a very long bus ride through a monotonous part of town when all you have to read are the advertisements for teeth whitening products posted above the luggage racks. If it had been written by a 12 year old I would have been amazed however.

    16. Take an unnamed narrator – the daughter of Chinese immigrants and a chemistry Ph.D. student – with a compellingly fresh and authentic voice. Add in a ton of ambivalence that reveals itself in her conflicted attitude toward her career and her love life. Toss is a bit of arcane chemistry trivia and some profound comments about creating a life with meaning.What you end up with is sheer chemistry, and Weike Wang succeeds in crafting a book that’s genuinely soul-searching and compelling, a book [...]

    17. Life choices. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.1. How academia screwed you over. ~Well, you want to relive your postgraduate years? Or even better, the wasted years before you said, "Screw it!" and bailed. Revel in the masochistic torture.2. How your family baggage drags you down.~The good, the bad, and the ugly. Family, there's nothing like it.A year into our dating, Eric says he wants to understand me and not just from a distance or through what he calls my ten-inch thick bulletproof glas [...]

    18. Oh how I loved this charming read. It starts out funny and quirky, and quickly reaches such emotional depth that I was lightly crying for the last 1/4 or so. Proof that one doesn't need flowery language or major tragedy to create a poignant, memorable story. There's been a lot of hype for this one--every ounce deserved.

    19. I don't understand the rave reviews of this book. Yes it was quirky and original, but for me it was definitely lacking readability and interest.

    20. A well-written novel, yes, but one weakened by the blandness of its stuck-in-her-head protagonist, a young Chinese-American scientist, spinning her wheels on every level, who can't fathom why her sweet boyfriend would want to marry her. The distancing, abstract passages about chemistry, etc. collaged between the bland bits of story dulled my reading experience, and by the end I couldn't fathom why, either.

    21. A wonderful, confidently written debut (I think) novel by daughter of Chinese immigrants, Weike Wang. The book felt like a fictionalised autobiography, and I was most impressed with her honesty, openness and letting the reader see right inside the narrator's head and heart. And it certainly wasn't always pretty what we found there, but it felt so authentic that I truly enjoyed it. The title is very obviously pertaining not only to the field of study that the narrator (and also the author) was pu [...]

    22. Perfect book for summer-full of just the right contrasts. Sweet but sour. Both light and heavy at the same time. About nothing, about everything. About the Chinese, about Americans. Children and Parents, lovers and fighters. The yin and the yang, the push and the pull. Chemistry. Trying to figure it out and making a mess of it. Finding truth. Just perfect.

    23. The narrator (unnamed) tells a sad tale of her Chinese parents' obsession with education and achievement for her, their only child, and her inability to complete a Ph.D. in chemistry that leads her to push away an ideal suitor and to scramble to discover what she really wants in life. The narrator turns to chemistry, to science, to the complexities of the Chinese language, to try to understand her difficult relationships with her parents and with her boyfriend. Chemistry is a brilliant, wanderin [...]

    24. So I'm kind of surprised about this book. Usually I find the PYTs like Weike Wang to be less alluring than my peers and taste-sharers, but it seems that the relationship was inverted this time around. Most of my GR friends were unimpressed by this, but I really liked it!Wang describes the life of a disenchanted graduate student in dreary, boreal, Boston, a life I recall all too well. She does it via economical sentences, clever chemistry analogies, random trivia, and the humorous lens of depress [...]

    25. A touching, intimate portrait rendered with spare, aphoristic writing that uses anecdotes, correlatives, and facts as an engaging emotional circumlocution for the protagonist's collapsing love life. The effect is of suspense hinging on hinted-at, deferred, and unfolding emotional revelations. There is a parsimonious aesthetic that approaches emotion both obliquely and deftly, but always with a brilliant feminine wit.The comparison to _Everything I Never Told You_ does not seem apt to me, and mis [...]

    26. (3.5 stars, rounded up)It took me a while to get into this book, but at a certain point I didn't want to put it down. I like Wang's sparse prose, but also know it's not going to appeal to everyone. (Ditto the thin plot.) This novel is great for fans of Jami Attenberg's All Grown Up. Overall, an enjoyable read.

    27. I have to say that part of my love for this book involved relating to quite a bit of the narrator's experiences. Her voice is deadpan and self-deprecatory, but unlike a lot of hyper-aware modern fiction it's not an ironic pose to appear clever. It's just that emotional distance has become a coping mechanism for the narrator to deal with the fallout of a turbulent family background. I enjoyed the rhythm of Wang's spare prose. She can convey information and register shifts in tone with a minimal u [...]

    28. I went back and forth about 4 stars or five. When I realized I might hold on to this book instead of passing it on as I do almost all fiction, I decided I had better give it, or round it to, a 5. This was a page turner for me. Not because it is a page turner kind of book but because I had to know every minute how it would turn out in the end. I thought the ending perfect. I loved the science. Loved the matters of language learning, ignorance, competence, and incompetence. I'm into language learn [...]

    29. The narrator of this novel has such a unique and quirky voice that I knew from the first page that this was my kind of book. Three years into a graduate program for chemistry, she finds herself having a bit of an internal crisis. Her academic life and her relationship have both grown stagnant, and she approaches both with an air of indifference and flippancy.Pressured by the expectations of those around her—her boyfriend, eager to get married; her traditional Chinese parents, insistent that sh [...]

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