In Accomplice to Memory, Zhang tries to piece together the fractured mystery of her father’s exodus from China to the U.S. during the two decades of civil and world war leading up to the 1949 revolution. But after a lifetime of her father’s secrets, lies, and tall tales spun for fellow Americans, Zhang’s efforts to untangle the truth are thwarted by the distance between generations and her father’s growing dementia.
This genre-and-form-defying book has already met with critical acclaim. Author Paisley Rekdal remarks that Accomplice to Memory “moves between photography and memoir, between history and poetry, between essay and fiction, to artfully excavate the truths behind Zhang’s father’s escape from China, and his subsequent life in the US. History is filled with the voiceless and nameless, those who have disappeared into obscurity. Accomplice to Memory works to revive the lost, to memorialize the author’s father, and the many thousands who fled the wars that roiled China during the 20th Century.”
In a review for Foreword, Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers notes that “Zhang’s voice is authorial, not authoritative. She often doubles down on her suspicions and doubts, presenting collective historical record, particularly images, as personal family history and then mythologizing that history. Zhang abandons the singular narrative in favor of a troubled, unstable construction that exists between image and text, father and daughter, memory and history, reader and writer, in a stance that claims the collective experience as her own.”
We’ve been gearing up for this release for some time; in February, Zhang spoke on a panel of transnational authors at the annual AWP Conference, where she discussed hybridity, nonlinearity, and multimedia. We’re looking forward to several more appearances in the coming months. At the LA Times Festival of Books on April 22nd, Zhang will be speaking with authors Thi Bui and Adriana Ramirez on a panel (“Memoir: Immigrant Stories”) moderated by Elizabeth Taylor.
If you’re a New Englander, you can catch Zhang in her home state of Massachusetts in the next couple of weeks. On April 1st, the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley will be hosting a book launch and reading for Accomplice to Memory, and on April 7th, Zhang will be appearing at the Brookline Booksmith, in conversation with Celeste Ng, alongside author Gish Jen.
Accomplice to Memory is a book unlike any other. Zhang blends personal anecdote with historical documentary as she interweaves her father’s stories with historical documents and photographs. The resulting narrative defies genre and refuses categorization. We know you’ll be just as captivated by it as we are, so make sure to order your copy today!
Visit Zhang’s website to learn more about the author and Accomplice to Memory.