LONGLISTED FOR THE 2017 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION
There was a time I would have called Lisa Kos novel beautifully written, ambitious,?and moving, and all of that is true, but its more than that now: if you want to understand?a forgotten and essential part of the world we live in, The Leavers is required reading.?Ann Patchett,author of Commonwealth
Lisa Kos powerful debut, The Leavers,?is the winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded by Barbara Kingsolver for a novel that addresses?issues of social justice.
One morning, Deming Guos mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to her job at a nail salonand never comes home.?No one can find any trace of her.?
With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left mystified and bereft. Eventually adopted by a pair of well-meaning white professors, Deming is moved from the Bronx to a small town upstate and renamed Daniel Wilkinson. But far from all hes ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his adoptive?parents desire that he assimilate with his memories of his mother and the community he left behind.?
Told from the perspective of both Danielas he grows into a directionless young manand Polly, Kos novel gives us one of fictions most singular mothers. Loving and selfish, determined and frightened, Polly is forced to make one heartwrenching choice after another.?
Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid examination of borders and belonging. Its a moving story of how a boy comes into?his own when everything he loves is taken away, and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of the past.?
Lisa Kos fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2016, Apogee Journal, Narrative, Copper Nickel, the Asian Pacific American Journal, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships and residencies from thlc/