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Joan Is Okay

Joan is a thirty-something ICU doctor at a busy New York City hospital. She is intensely devoted to her work and happily solitary, but she sometimes wonders 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 according to their cultural and social expectations.

After moving to the United States to secure the American dream for their children, Joan’s parents have returned to China, hoping to spend the rest of their lives in their homeland now that Joan and her brother are well established in their careers. But when her father suddenly dies, a series of events sends Joan spiralling out of her comfort zone, forcing her to consider her life anew.

Deceptively spare, quietly powerful and shot through with sharp humour, Joan Is Okay is a portrait of a marvellously surprising woman you won’t forget.

Weike Wang
About the Author

Weike Wang was born in Nanjing, China, and grew up in Australia, Canada, and the United States. She is a graduate of Harvard University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry and her doctorate in public health. Her first novel, Chemistry, received the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, the Ploughshares John C. Zacharis First...

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Text publication date:
1 February 2022
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Praise for Weike Wang
andJoan Is Okay

‘With gimlet-eyed observation and laced with darkly biting wit, Joan Is Okay is a deeply felt portrait of a woman who’s effaced herself to survive—and how, in the face of devastating loss, she’s forced to confront her grief and her place in the world. In her second novel, Weike Wang masterfully probes the existential uncertainty of being other in America.’

‘Joan isn’t just okay, she’s wonderful. I could listen to her smart, witty voice forever. Incisive yet tender, written with elegant style and delicious comic verve, Wang’s story of the day-to-day life of a gifted young Chinese-American ICU doctor amply fulfils the outstanding promise of her debut novel.’

‘I would read anything Weike Wang writes, even a cereal box. With skilful and singular insight, humour, and heart, in her new novel she navigates impossible-to-talk-about territory: grief, family, the straddling of two cultures. Joan Is Okay, like Joan herself, is brilliant, subtly powerful, and different—in the best way.’

‘Written in a distinct, original style, this story is subtle, nuanced, intense. It shows the complicated facets of the immigrant experience and speaks to many current immigrants’ condition. Unflinchingly, Joan Is Okay challenges some of our fundamental views on home, belonging, family. A smart, quietly engaging novel that is also warm and moving.’

Joan Is Okay offers no easy solution or false cheer for troubling times. Rather, Weike Wang takes us into the heart of the matter: death, dysfunction, COVID-19, xenophobia, misogyny, and the chronic misapprehension that passes between people of good intentions. The miracle that emerges, then, is just how funny this book is, how compassionate and visionary.’

Other editions ofJoan Is Okay
  • Joan Is Okay
    ISBN: 9781922459787
    1 February 2022
    Buy ebook
Other Titles byWeike Wang