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How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?

This collection of short stories from Doretta Lau builds on the success of the Journey Prize–shortlisted title story.

Doretta Lau

Building on the success of the Writers' Trust / McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize–shortlisted title story, the stories of How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? present an updated and whimsical new take on what it means to be Canadian. Lau alludes to the personal and political histories of a number of young Asian Canadian characters to explain their unique perspectives of the world, artfully fusing pure delusion and abstract perception with heartbreaking reality.

Correspondingly, the book's title refers to an interview with Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, who when asked about the Shanghai Sharks, the team that shaped his formative sporting years, responded, "How does a single blade of grass thank the sun?" Lau's stories feature the children and grandchildren of immigrants, transnational adoptees and multiracial adults who came of age in the 1990s — all struggling to find a place in the Western world and using the only language they know to express their hopes, fears and expectations. (From Nightwood Editions)

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From the book

That fall in New York, most of my thoughts had to do with pain or grief. I was not suicidal. Rather, my grandmother had died a few months earlier and I was slowly recovering from the loss. I did not know how to talk about my pain, so I often drank until I could no longer feel my hands or feet. Insomnia took hold of me. I lay in bed and watched movies until five or six a.m., taking careful notes for the screenplay I was supposed to complete to attain my Master's degree. Though four months had passed since the end of coursework, I was still working on the first act. No matter how many hours I sat in front of my computer, I could not advance the plot of the film. My characters were flat. Each line of dialogue I wrote felt like an affront to the English language.


From How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? by Doretta Lau ©2014. Published by Nightwood Editions.

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