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“The boy asks the girl a question. It is a question of marriage. Ask me again tomorrow, she says, and he says, That’s not how this works.” So the novel Chemistry opens and we learn that this is a novel about anxiety and indecision and pressure. The world doesn’t work this way.
A few quick observations about the novel that raise some interesting questions:
1) The narrator of the novel is never named. For 211 pages. Never. Is that significant? Is she intended to be more of a symbol or a type than a specific person?
2) The entire novel is written in the present tense. Is the author commenting on the role the past has on the narrator, especially her immigrant parents’ experiences and expectations?
3) The title is “Chemistry” which, of course, is the narrator’s area of study. Does the title also mean the “chemistry” of love and relationships? In Chinese the word “chemistry” translates to “the study of change.” What changes in this novel and what doesn’t change?
Join us on September 13 at 12:30 pm in room A106 at Myers Park Presbyterian Church to discuss Chemistry by Weike Wang. If you can’t attend the discussion but have read the book, post a comment here in response to the questions I’ve asked above.
Grace and peace, Millie