The Sorrows of Others by Ada Zhang is a collection of stories about Chinese immigrants and their children trying to survive and exist within America. These stories exist within longing and grief, while their characters fight to understand why they’re there, and what to do about their situations. I enjoyed stories such as ‘The Subject’, which is about a painter finding connection and betrayal in her elderly roommate, ‘Any Good Wife’, about a couple that has moved to America and the wife is trying to fit in by cooking odd American meals, ‘Knowing’, about an elderly man who teaches a daughter math. And finally, the story I particularly enjoyed, though it was heartbreaking was ‘Sister Machinery’, which is about a family trying to exist after the middle daughter’s death in a car accident. The speaker of the story understands the tension in their parents and sees her older sister grow apart from her. And it ends on a scene in which all three daughters are alive and they are teaching the youngest, the speaker, how to ride a bike. It's such a small moment, but it’s an insanely powerful and moving one.
Final Rating: 4/5
Maxwell Suzuki is a writer, poet, and photographer based in Los Angeles.