kaya publishes books of the asian pacific diaspora

 
 
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Q.M. Zhang

Q.M. Zhang (Kimberly Chang) grew up in upstate New York, lived in China and Hong Kong, and currently makes her home in Western Massachusetts.  She is a writer and teacher of creative non/fiction stories and forms, with a focus on Chinese American border crossings.  Trained in the disciplines of anthropology and psychology, she has published ethnographic studies of Asian diasporic communities on both sides of the Pacific.  Faced with the limitations of her social science tools, she has worked over the last decade to develop herself at the craft of creative non/fiction as the quintessential hybrid literary form for writing about migration and diaspora.  She is an alumni of the Juniper Summer Writing Institute and was a resident writer at the Vermont Studio Center.  Her book, Accomplice to Memory, combines memoir, fiction, and documentary photographs to explore the limits and possibilities of truth telling across generations and geographies.  An excerpt from the book was published in The Massachusetts Review.  She currently teaches at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.

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Accomplice to Memory

Kaya Press Feb. 28, 2017

PRE-ORDER Accomplice to Memory HERE!

In Accomplice to Memory, Q.M. 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.

One day, late in his life, Zhang’s father tells her a story she never heard before, and suddenly, all of his previous stories begin to unravel. Before she can get clarity on the new information, her father is hospitalized. Armed with history books and timelines, Zhang sits at her father’s bedside recording accounts of love, espionage, and betrayal–trying to separate the good stories from the true ones. The one about the Chinese boy scout. The one about the secret radio station and the communist spy. The one about the girl on the boat. As Zhang follows her father upriver into the interior of a country at war, she is pulled in and along by an uncanny assemblage of images, memories, documents and dreams that inspire and conspire with her own attempts at truth telling.

Part memoir, novel, and historical documentary, this hybrid text explores the silences and subterfuge of an immigrant parent, and the struggles of the second generation to understand the first. Mixing images and text in the manner of W.G. Sebald, Zhang blurs the boundary between fiction and nonfiction, memory and imagination, and the result is a literary page-turner of one woman racing against time to uncover and reimagine her family’s origin story.

 
praise

“In comic book parlance, the blank space between illustrated panels is called “the gutter.” It’s in the gutter where the real story comes to light, where time past and time future meet, and where readers turn fragmented images into coherent narratives. In Accomplice to Memory, Q.M. Zhang constructs her own “gutter” out of an assemblage of aesthetic forms: this book 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.”

– Paisley Rekdal, author of Intimate: An American Family Photo Album

 
 
 

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