A graceful and indelible debut about love, grief, and family welcomes you into its pages and invites you to linger, staying with you long after you've closed its covers.
How do you grieve, if your family doesn't talk about feelings?
This is the question the unnamed protagonist of Ghost Forest considers after her father dies. One of the many Hong Kong "astronaut" fathers, he stayed in Hong Kong to work, while the rest of the family immigrated to Vancouver before the 1997 Handover, when the British returned sovereignty over Hong Kong to China.
As she revisits memories of her father throughout the years, she struggles with unresolved questions and misunderstandings. Turning to her mother and grandmother for answers, she discovers her own life refracted brightly in theirs.
Buoyant, heartbreaking, and unexpectedly funny, Ghost Forest is a slim novel that envelops the reader in joy and sorrow. Fung writes with a poetic and haunting voice, layering detail and abstraction, weaving memory and oral history to paint a moving portrait of a Chinese-Canadian astronaut family.
PIK-SHUEN FUNG was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is a Kundiman Fiction Fellow, a Kundiman Mentorship Lab Fellow, and a Margins Fellow at the Asian American Writers' Workshop. She has been awarded residencies at the Millay Colony and Storyknife, and her writing has appeared in The Margins and Ricepaper Magazine. She holds an MFA in fine art from the School of Visual Arts and a BA in visual art from Brown University. Her artwork has been exhibited at the Newark Museum, the Katonah Museum, the Secret Theatre, and Beverly's.
“Ghost Forest is an exceptional debut—risky, precise, witty and beautiful. How can a painting be distilled into ‘a single line,’ or love take root without a home to ground it? Fung creates an almost transparent yet weighted world made of relations. This is a moving, alive and unforgettable book.”
—Madeleine Thien, author of the Giller Prize-winning Do Not Say We Have Nothing
“Like a Chinese ink painting, every line in Pik-Shuen Fung’s Ghost Forest is full of movement and spirit, revealing the resilient threads of matrilineal history and the inheritance of stories and silences. With humor, compassion, and clear-eyed prose, Fung reminds us that grief, memory, and history are never linear but always alive. Fung writes about the questions we forget to ask, the stories that are hidden from us, and the complex acts of care at the core of family. She reminds us that what is unspoken is never lost. Ghost Forest is an intimate act of recording and reckoning. It trusts us to listen. It shows us all the languages for love.”
—K-Ming Chang, author of Bestiary
“‘With a single line, you can paint the ocean,’ says an art teacher in Ghost Forest, as apt a description as any for Pik-Shuen Fung’s spare, gorgeous, devastating debut novel. Here, silences speak. Brilliant and pitiless at first, Ghost Forest mutates in the reader’s hand, until it shimmers with grace and unexpected humor. A mercurial meditation on love and family."
—Padma Viswanathan, bestselling author of The Ever After of Ashwin Rao
“Made by an artist who angles her mirror to make room for the faces of others, Pik-Shuen Fung’s Ghost Forest resembles a xieyi painting, a place where white space and absence are as important as color and life. At once an elegy to all that’s been lost between countries, languages, generations, and a quietly urgent call to love what we have. Inventive, funny, and devastating.”
—Jennifer Tseng, award-winning author of Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness
“In Ghost Forest, Pik-Shuen Fung gives us a family so aching with tenderness, so incandescent with grief and love, that reading about them felt like reading about my own deepest and most secret longings and regrets. This is a book to break your heart and then fill it to bursting again. What an exquisite, glorious debut.”
—Catherine Chung, author of The Tenth Muse