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How Much of These Hills is Gold: A tale of two sisters during the gold rush beautifully written The i, Best Books of the Year

C Pam Zhang

5 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

'A wonder . . . gorgeous, soulful, feral' GARTH GREENWELL

'Ferocious, dark and gleaming' LAUREN GROFF

An untold story of the arrival of Chinese-American immigrants to the US during the Gold Rush. A novel about conflict between two siblings, carrying the body of their newly deceased father across a harsh landscape.



America. In the twilight of the Gold Rush, two siblings cross a landscape with a gun in their hands and the body of their father on their backs . . .

Ba dies in the night, Ma is already gone. Lucy and Sam, twelve and eleven, are suddenly alone and on the run. With their father's body on their backs, they roam an unforgiving landscape dotted with giant buffalo bones and tiger paw prints, searching for a place to give him a proper burial.

How Much of These Hills is Gold is a sweeping adventure tale, an unforgettable sibling story and a remarkable novel about a family bound and divided by its memories.

'A daring and haunting epic' SUNDAY TIMES

'A unique reimagining of the American West adventure' THE TIMES

'A fierce, feminist Western' DAILY MAIL

Remarkable' HARPER'S BAZAAR 'Reminiscent of both Cormac McCarthy and Toni Morrison' IRISH TIMES

'C Pam Zhang's arresting, beautiful first novel is filled with myths of her own making as well as sorrows and joys' NEW YORK TIMES A GWYNETH PALTROW BOOK CLUB PICK

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Praise for How Much of These Hills is Gold: A tale of two sisters during the gold rush beautifully written The i, Best Books of the Year

  • C Pam Zhang's debut is ferocious, dark and gleaming, a book erupting out of the interstices between myth and dream, between longing and belonging. How Much of These Hills Is Gold tells us that stories--like people, like the rough and stunning landscape of California itself--are constantly in the process of being made, broken, and finally remade into something tender and new

  • This exhilarating novel unweaves the myths of the American West and offers in their place a gorgeous, broken, soulful, feral song of family and yearning, origin and earth. C Pam Zhang is a brilliant, fearless writer. This book is a wonder

  • Set in the dying days of the Californian gold rush, this tough, tender debut follows the fate of two young sisters who are forced to go on the run after a bungled bank raid. Peopled by unforgettable characters, Zhang has created a fierce feminist Western - Daily Mail

  • [A] unique, discomforting reimagining of the American West adventure . . . a story that combines brutal beauty and dreamlike horror . . . a book about loneliness, belonging and the ferocious delusion of the American dream. The story is conveyed in a spare, lyrical prose with sharp, pronounced imagery - The Times

  • How Much of These Hills is Gold is a miracle, as timely as it is timeless, propulsive but also wonderfully meditative, a ferocious, tender epic about vulnerable immigrant family trying to survive the American Gold Rush. I read it in one night and know I'll revisit it soon: I envy you your first read of this book

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C Pam Zhang

Born in Beijing but mostly an artifact of the United States, C Pam Zhang has lived in thirteen cities and is still looking for home. She's been awarded fellowships and scholarships from organisations including Bread Loaf, Tin House and Aspen Words. Her work appears in Kenyon Review, McSweeney's Quarterly, Tin House and elsewhere. She currently lives in San Francisco.

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