Weike Wang

discusses

Chemistry:
A Novel

in conversation with HA JIN

This event includes a book signing

Date

Jun
5
Monday
June 5, 2017
7:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store and GrubStreet welcome Harvard alum WEIKE WANG and National Book Award–winning author HA JIN for a discussion of Wang's debut novel, Chemistry—a coming-of-age story about a young female scientist who must recalibrate her life when her academic career goes off track.

About Chemistry

Three years into her graduate studies at a demanding Boston university, the unnamed narrator of this nimbly wry, concise debut finds her one-time love for chemistry is more hypothesis than reality. She's tormented by her failed research—and reminded of her delays by her peers, her advisor, and most of all by her Chinese parents, who have always expected nothing short of excellence from her throughout her life. But there's another, nonscientific question looming: the marriage proposal from her devoted boyfriend, a fellow scientist, whose path through academia has been relatively free of obstacles, and with whom she can't make a life before finding success on her own. Eventually, the pressure mounts so high that she must leave everything she thought she knew about her future, and herself, behind. And for the first time, she's confronted with a question she won't find the answer to in a textbook: What do I really want? Over the next two years, this winningly flawed, disarmingly insightful heroine learns the formulas and equations for a different kind of chemistry—one in which the reactions can't be quantified, measured, and analyzed; one that can be studied only in the mysterious language of the heart. Taking us deep inside her scattered, searching mind, here is a brilliant new literary voice that astutely juxtaposes the elegance of science, the anxieties of finding a place in the world, and the sacrifices made for love and family.

Praise

“Weike Wang’s voice is indelible—hypnotic, mesmerizing, and strange in the best possible way. In Chemistry she creates a fully realized portrait of a brilliant mind in crisis, illuminating a corner of the human experience that’s woefully underexplored. By the last page I was devastated, transported, and craving more.” —Emily Gould, author of Friendship

“How do we learn to love if we haven’t been taught? That question seems to be the nucleus of Chemistry. Wang challenges the conventions of the marriage plot: the story begins with a proposal, falls into an alienating existential crisis, and ends in the morally ambiguous territory of self-actualization. The force of the novel is the narrator’s perfectly-executed voice, unflinching and painfully self-aware as she deconstructs her life—disastrously, bravely—to see if there is anything at the bottom she can hold on to.” —Stephanie Danler, author of Sweetbitter

Chemistry casts a rare spell, some alchemic mixture all its own. Though her ingredients are familiar—being young, uncertain, and estranged—Weike Wang gives them to us anew; her wry, off-beat vision demands that we look again, as if for the very first time.” —Casey Schwartz, author of In the Mind Fields

Ha Jin
Ha Jin

Ha Jin

Ha Jin left his native China in 1985 to attend Brandeis University. He is the author of seven previous novels, four story collections, three volumes of poetry, and a book of essays. He has received the National Book Award, two PEN/Faulkner Awards, the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award, the Asian American Literary Award, and the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. In 2014 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Ha Jin lives in the Boston area and is director of the creative writing program at Boston University.

Photo credit: Erik Jacobs for the Boston Globe

Weike Wang
Weike Wang

Weike Wang

Weike Wang is a graduate of Harvard University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry and her doctorate in public health. She received her MFA from Boston University. Her fiction has been published in or is forthcoming from Alaska Quarterly Review, Glimmer Train, The Journal, Ploughshares, Redivider, and SmokeLong Quarterly.

Photo credit: Saavedra Photography

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.

While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.

Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:

  • Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
  • Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
  • Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.

Ordering a signed book by phone:

  • Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
  • If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.

FAQ:

Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.

Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!

Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.

I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.

More questions? Give us a call!

Event Series: New Voices in Fiction

Harvard Book Store's New Voices in Fiction series, presented with GrubStreet, highlights debut novelists discussing their work and the writing process.

GrubStreet is one of the nation's leading creative writing centers, offering 500+ classes a year in all genres, for writers of all levels. We believe that narrative transforms lives, builds bridges, and produces empathy. By rigorously developing voices of every type and talent and by removing barriers to entry, GrubStreet fosters the creation of meaningful stories and ensures that excellent writing remains vital and relevant. To learn more or find a class, visit grubstreet.org.

Purchase the Book
Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
General Info
(617) 661-1515
info@harvard.com

Media Inquiries
(617) 661-1424 x6
mediainquiries@harvard.com

Accessibility Inquiries
access@harvard.com

Subscribe

Author event updates +
book recommendations.
In your inbox, once a week.

Learn More »

Shipping & Delivery

Shipping rates
and options, locally
and throughout
the U.S.

Learn More »

Signed First Edition Club

A unique way for readers to create a wealth of great books—Get a membership for yourself or for a gift!

Learn More »