Set in both New York and China, Lisa Ko’s beautifully absorbing debut novel, The Leavers (Algonquin), received the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize, given by Barbara Kingsolver for a work that addresses issues of social justice. Lisa Ko’s story of undocumented Chinese immigrants, particularly a mother and son, does that, and more - powerfully.
"A moving mother/son story and welcome contribution to immigrant literature. In writing about Polly and her son Deming, Ko captures one family's unique experience of becoming American while also exposing the loss of status, economic desperation, physical endangerment, and psychological grit of the undocumented worker as well as the alienation, double consciousness, mobility, and comparative access of the first generation." —Emily Raboteau.
"Ko’s debut is a sweeping examination of family through the eyes of a single mother, a Chinese immigrant, and her U.S.-born son, whose separation haunts and defines their lives. Ko’s stunning tale of love and loyalty – to family, to country --- is a fresh and moving look at the immigrant experience in America, and is as timely as ever." —Publishers Weekly.