Joan Is Okay: A Novel

Written by:
Weike Wang
Narrated by:
Catherine Ho

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
January 2022
6 hours 36 minutes
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE • A witty, moving, piercingly insightful new novel about a marvelously complicated woman who can’t be anyone but herself, from the award-winning author of Chemistry

LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL • “A deeply felt portrait . . . With gimlet-eyed observation laced with darkly biting wit, Weike Wang masterfully probes the existential uncertainty of being other in America.”—Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, NPR, The Washington Post, Vox

Joan is a thirtysomething ICU doctor at a busy New York City hospital. The daughter of Chinese parents who came to the United States to secure the American dream for their children, Joan is intensely devoted to her work, happily solitary, successful. She does look up sometimes and wonder where her true roots lie: at the hospital, where her white coat makes her feel needed, or with her family, who try to shape her life by their own cultural and social expectations.
Once Joan and her brother, Fang, were established in their careers, her parents moved back to China, hoping to spend the rest of their lives in their homeland. But when Joan’s father suddenly dies and her mother returns to America to reconnect with her children, a series of events sends Joan spiraling out of her comfort zone just as her hospital, her city, and the world are forced to reckon with a health crisis more devastating than anyone could have imagined.
Deceptively spare yet quietly powerful, laced with sharp humor, Joan Is Okay touches on matters that feel deeply resonant: being Chinese-American right now; working in medicine at a high-stakes time; finding one’s voice within a dominant culture; being a woman in a male-dominated workplace; and staying independent within a tight-knit family. But above all, it’s a portrait of one remarkable woman so surprising that you can’t get her out of your head.
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Linda M.

I really enjoyed this book. There is a lot to it, and it is hard to know what to pick out as its main theme. It is about an American-born Chinese woman whose family came to the U.S. After a long period of failed jobs and bleak lifestyle, the parents went back to China, while their two children stayed. The brother and sister are very different from each other. The sister becomes an ICU doctor in New York City, while the brother goes into the world of venture capital. The story revolves around the death of the main character's father (in China) and how she handles it, and the visit of her mother after his death. Joan appears to be "on the spectrum", like the character in "Eleanor Oliphant is Absolutely Fine" but it would be wrong to lump the two together. - each story is very different. Joan is complicated and wracked from being perceived by Americans as "not-American" and by Chinese relatives as "not-Chinese." It is a problem for all people who leave their home country for another. They cannot resolve the question of who they are or where they belong. The narrator does a fine job.

Joan Is Okay: A Novel
This title is due for release on January 18, 2022.

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