In China she was the daughter of professors. In Brooklyn her family is ‘illegal.’ Qian is just seven when she moves to America, the ‘Beautiful Country’, where she and her parents find that the roads of New York City are not paved with gold, but crushing fear and scarcity.
Unable to speak English at first, Qian and her parents must work wherever they can to survive, all while she battles hunger and loneliness at school. Thus begins an extraordinary story that describes, in vivid colours, days labouring in sweatshops and sushi factories, nights scavenging the streets for furniture, and the terrifying moment when the family emerges from the shadows to seek emergency medical treatment for Qian’s mother. Qian Julie Wang’s memoir is an unforgettable account of what it means to live under the perpetual threat of deportation and the small joys and sheer determination that kept her family afloat in a new land.