The Resisters: A novel (Hardcover)

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“I finished The Resisters in a day. I don’t know how a book can be so devastating yet so miraculously wonderful at the same time. I was completely captivated by the family whose story Jen tells. The world she creates — set in near-future AutoAmerica — is so believable an outcome of what we see around us today that it feels as much prescient as imagined. A sort of cautionary tale, The Resisters is not only a book to love, it’s a book that’s important. I’m in awe.”
— Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

Description


"The Resisters is palpably loving, smart, funny, and desperately unsettling. The novel should be required reading for the country both as a cautionary tale and because it is a stone-cold masterpiece. This is Gish Jen's moment. She has pitched a perfect game." --Ann Patchett

The time: not so long from now. The place: AutoAmerica. The land: half under water. The Internet: one part artificial intelligence, one part surveillance technology, and oddly human--even funny. The people: Divided. The angel-fair "Netted" have jobs, and literally occupy the high ground. The "Surplus" live on swampland if they're lucky, on water if they're not.

The story: To a Surplus couple--he once a professor, she still a lawyer--is born a Blasian girl with a golden arm. At two, Gwen is hurling her stuffed animals from the crib; by ten, she can hit whatever target she likes. Her teens find her happily playing in an underground baseball league.

When AutoAmerica rejoins the Olympics, though--with a special eye on beating ChinRussia--Gwen attracts interest. Soon she finds herself playing ball with the Netted even as her mother challenges the very foundations of this divided society.

A moving and important story of an America that seems ever more possible, The Resisters is also the story of one family struggling to maintain its humanity and normalcy in circumstances that threaten their every value--as well as their very existence.

Extraordinary and ordinary, charming and electrifying, this is Gish Jen at her most irresistible.

About the Author


GISH JEN is the author of four previous novels, a story collection, and two works of nonfiction, the latest of which was The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap. Her honors include the Lannan Literary Award for fiction and the Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She teaches from time to time in China, and otherwise lives with her husband and two children in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Praise For…


Praise for The Resisters

The Resisters is palpably loving, smart, funny and desperately unsettling. The novel should be required reading for the country, both as a cautionary tale and because it is a stone-cold masterpiece. This is Gish Jen’s moment. She has pitched a perfect game.” —Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House
 
“An absolute joy . . . I finished The Resisters with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face. Who could ask for a better combo? Gish Jen has written a one-of-a-kind book with great characters—especially Eleanor, who is the heart of the story—and a warm heart. Remind Ms. Jen that the great Ernie Banks said, ‘Hey, guys, let’s play two!’ Which is my way of saying I wouldn’t mind a sequel. Probably won’t happen, but a guy can hope. P.S. This lady knows her baseball.” —Stephen King, author of The Institute

“A dystopia so chillingly plausible that an entire review could be spent simply describing its components. To do that, however, would scant the provocative ideas that underpin her gripping tale of a family confronting the digitally empowered authoritarian state . . . Over the course of three decades, Jen’s social and psychological observations have only sharpened, while her marvelous humor has darkened . . . Alert as always to the demands of storytelling and character development, she crafts a suspenseful, deftly plotted narrative”  —Wendy Smith, The Boston Globe

“Intricately imagined . . . The Resisters is a book that grows directly out of the soil of our current political moment, and much of the book’s unsettling pleasure lies in Jen’s ingenious extrapolation (or, in some cases, redescription) of contemporary problems. [She] has a gifted ear for the manipulative languages of tech, marketing and government.” —Karen Thompson Walker, The New York Times Book Review

The Resisters is wonderfully inventive and poignant; a smart warning about at a possible future that could come before we know it.” —Annette Gordon-Reed, author of “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination

“From its first page, Jen’s dystopian novel crackles with energy. Set in the near future, the story takes place in the new AutoAmerica, where the Netted live in luxury, while the Surplus struggle to earn their comforts. Unsettling yet light, funny yet meaningful, this book should keep you reading, then talking for months.” —Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post

“An entertaining ride in a new yet familiar world . . . Jen world-builds effortlessly . . . Newly coined words become part of your own parlance within pages . . . Empowering.”  —Abby Manzella, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“[Gish Jen] has long had a feel for sweeping, subversive explorations of American life . . . As Jen reveals how America became AutoAmerica, one seemingly tiny but cumulatively fatal development at a time, she finds in baseball a compelling metaphor for a country that will always have something to prove.” —David Canfield, Entertainment Weekly

“In this astutely realized and unnervingly possible depiction of a near-future world, Jen masterfully entwines shrewd mischief, knowing compassion, and profound social critique in a suspenseful tale encompassing baseball ardor, family love, newly insidious forms of racism and tyranny, and a wily and righteous resistance movement that declares ‘RIGHT MAKES RIGHT.’” —Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

“Subtle dystopian fiction . . . beautifully crafted and slyly unsettling . . . The juxtaposition of America’s pastime and the AI-enabled surveillance state Jen presents here is brilliant.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“[A] shrewd and provocative near-future novel . . . [Jen’s] intelligence and control shine through in a chilling portrait of the casual acceptance of totalitarianism.” —Publishers Weekly

“Can there be a dystopian novel of lightness, delicacy and charm? In which baseball, our subtle, determined summer game, is the means of resistance against the dehumanizing overlords? In which a girl who pitches like Satchel Paige is the blue-haired hero? Gish Jen says, Yes! And she is right! Where there is baseball, there is hope. And beautiful prose, too.” —Cathleen Schine, author of The Grammarians
 
“Inventive, funny, and tender, The Resisters is about family, baseball, and the future—but more than anything, it is about freedom, and it is about us—here, now.” —Allegra Goodman, author of The Chalk Artist

“Brilliant . . . A heartbreaking novel with the sensitivity, emotional range, and prophetic power of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid’s Tale.” —Jean Kwok, author of Searching for Sylvie Lee

“I LOVE this novel as much as I fear the future Gish Jen has conjured in it. In this anything but brave new world, baseball is what survives and reminds us of our humanity, and a girl’s golden arm forms the kernel of resistance. What an enchanting conceit! Gish Jen has hit a grand slam.” —Jane Leavy, author of The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World he Created
Product Details
ISBN: 9780525657217
ISBN-10: 0525657215
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: February 4th, 2020
Pages: 320