Welcome to 2022's first edition of #NewTitleTuesday, where we take a look at a new title released today that hits the publishing world - and patrons' holds lists. One of January's standouts, heralded by prominent literary voices including Publisher's Weekly and the New York Times, is FIONA AND JANE, a striking literary debut from Jean Chen Ho.
A novel in stories centered around the friendship of two young Taiwanese-American women that stretches over twenty years as they navigate love, relationships, careers, and ambition as they begin as friends in grade school and grow up over remarkable arcs that take them from the shores of California all the way to New York City. Born in different classes and in different circumstances, Ho makes these characters alive and vibrant, making them - and their friendship - feel real as they drift together and apart and together again over the course of the book. Fiona is the more driven and fiery of the two, born poorer but more beautiful, more desperate to get out of their community. Jane is the steadier one, but at the same time tied down by family obligations. Between the two is a secondary character, Won, who acts as the rock and much more clear in his vision of who he is and what he wants, and he weaves in and out of the narrative as the story progresses.
Ho is a new author but writes with assurance and grace. The short story/novel in stories format works well here, as we catch snippets of the two friends from different parts of their lives as they grow and progress, so it seems like the reader is checking in on them, just like we check in on our own friends and family. Since Ho's debut is already causing a stir, place your holds now so you can be among the first in your book group to recommend it.
Thanks for reading, and we'll be back soon!