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Our Missing Hearts (2022)

por Celeste Ng

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,6118111,045 (3.92)50
Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in Harvard University's library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve "American culture" in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic-including the work of Bird's mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old. Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn't know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn't wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is drawn into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change. Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It's a story about the power-and limitations-of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact"--… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 81 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Book on CD narrated by Lucy Liu

From the book jacket: Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. His mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet left the family when he was nine years old. Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is pulled into a quest to find her.

My reaction
This was uncomfortably plausible. Ng holds a magnifying glass to current and past events and predicts the likely outcome, especially if the silent majority remains silent and complacent when “it doesn’t effect US.”

Bird is a wonderful character. He’s smart and observant. The political climate in which he lives has resulted in a kind of maturity beyond his years. My heart bleeds for his father, who, to protect his child, must hold everything he knows inside – never sharing, never discussing, never searching for answers.

I loved the network of librarians who were used to thwart the “powers that be.” The story lost a little momentum in the second part, when Ng explored Margaret’s story, but it picked up again in part three. There were times when my heart was in my throat. I can hardly wait for my book club meeting to discuss!

The audiobook is narrated by Lucy Liu, who does a fine job of it. She sets a good pace and I was never confused about who was speaking. ( )
  BookConcierge | Apr 30, 2024 |
This is a book that imagines a future that is dystopian but, frighteningly, all too easy to see coming about. Let's hope it remains fiction, not fortune telling.

Noah is 12 years old when the book opens. He lives with his father, Ethan, on a college campus in Cambridge Massachusetts. Noah prefers to be called Bird but after his mother, Margaret, left the family home when Noah was eight, no-one calls him Bird. Because Margaret is viewed as a traitor, Ethan who was a professor was demoted to being a librarian when Margaret vanished. Ethan is a man who loves words and books but fewer and fewer books are kept on the shelves of libraries. PACT (Preserving American Cultures and Traditions) is a bill passed by the American government that has become increasingly totalitarian. Dissent is not tolerated, children can be taken from parents for little reason, books are deemed unacceptable for a variety of reasons and people of Chinese (or any Eastern ethnicity) origin are openly discriminated against. Margaret was a Chinese-American and Bird has Oriental features so Ethan is always warning Bird to look down and not draw attention to himself. They haven't heard from Margaret since she left and Bird doesn't know if she is even alive. He tries to remember her by telling himself the stories and fables that she used to tell him. Margaret was the author of a book of poetry called Our Missing Hearts but there are no copies left anywhere. Then Bird gets a message from Margaret which invites him to come to New York City to see her. It's a long journey for a young boy but he decides to do it. In New York he is reunited with Margaret through the auspices of her friend, the Duchess. Margaret continues the story-telling but this time it is the story of her life. Margaret's book has been used as a rallying call for people protesting their children being apprehended and she has spent the last four years learning the stories of people whose children were taken. Now she plans to disseminate those stories in a very public way. When she finishes that she hopes to go back to being Bird's mom but is that a dream?

In this book, librarians are heroes of the resistance, passing along information, and people. Librarians are always my heroes. ( )
  gypsysmom | Apr 21, 2024 |
I liked the writng in this book more than I liked the content. this dystopian novel was very frightening and showed how easy it is for dictators to rule. it was upsetting to read this at this time in this state, country, and world. The first part was very interesting, but much of the second and third parts of the book were tedious. the ending came so quickly and unfortunately, was much too uncertain itself. it's fine that i read this book, but it is the least favorite of ng's books that i've read. i was personally pleased that librarians were portrayed as saviors, as so often that is true. ( )
  suesbooks | Apr 10, 2024 |
In the timeless tradition of The Handmaid's Tale and Fahrenheit 451, Ng tackles a dystopian future that is woven tightly with reality. The country has made it through a crisis, but the PACT legislation that resulted from a place a fear has only increased prejudice and suspicion of Asian Americans. It's not much of a leap to believe this could happen, which is what makes the story so powerful. She focuses on the families whose children are ripped away from them in order to "protect" them from sedition indoctrination. Ng has been hit of miss for me in the past. I enjoy her books, but never before have I felt rocked by the quiet emotion this one held. It's a dark future, but one that is based in past actions of both this country and others. When we silence those who are willing to question authority, we are no longer free.

“If we fear something, it is all the more imperative we study it thoroughly.”

“Librarians, of all people, understood the value of knowing, even if that information could not yet be used.”

“Maybe, she thinks, this is simply what living is: an infinite list of transgressions that did not weigh against the joys but that simply overlaid them, the two lists mingling and merging, all the small moments that made up the mosaic of a person, a relationship, a life.” ( )
  bookworm12 | Mar 13, 2024 |
The library where I work chose this for their "one book" this year. One of the more depressing books I've read in the past 12 months. Maybe because I live in the area it's even easier to imagine, and maybe because it seems plausible in this election year. In an America post "crisis," Asian Americans are the out group, because people associate them with China, the major bad player. Not only are Asians the out group, but anyone not deemed patriotic enough can have their children removed! That is a really scary prospect, since if you disagree with the government, you will be deemed unpatriotic.

The book was okay for me; not as good as Little Fires, but thought-provoking. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Feb 13, 2024 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 81 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
"I won’t give away the splendid conclusion of Ng’s book ... The gears in this story for the most part mesh very well. And Bird is a brave and believable character, who gives us a relatable portal into a world that seems more like our own every day."
adicionada por lquilter | editarNew York Times, Stephen King (Sep 22, 2022)
 
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Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in Harvard University's library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve "American culture" in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic-including the work of Bird's mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old. Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn't know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn't wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is drawn into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change. Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It's a story about the power-and limitations-of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact"--

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