Why Celeste Ng calls her new novel, ‘Our Missing Hearts,’ ‘scarily real’
Celeste Ng is a San Francisco writer on the rise.
She holds two degrees from Stanford, has a string of popular and award-winning books and is known for her sharp social observations, but no one is more surprised about how she feels about being a black woman in America than herself.
“I love to watch my parents be treated like human beings, and that’s who I want to be, so I don’t understand why I’m called to be a writer,” says the 45-year-old author. “I used to be one of the worst critics of myself, but now I see that my books are some of the most important novels ever written.”
That doesn’t mean she’s ready to call herself a writer yet, but it does explain why she’s been working on the second novel in a trilogy of books about white women in San Francisco (the first is titled, “The Year of Living Biblically”).
“That was the real challenge,” she says of writing The Year of Living Biblically, “but now I’m really excited about writing Our Missing Hearts. It’s about missing hearts. It’s not only a novel, but also a collection of poems.”
Our Missing Hearts debuted to strong reviews at the New York Public Library Book Festival in October 2015. It follows Celeste Ng’s own coming-of-age stories, from the time she moved to America to the time she realized she never got over the deaths of her parents on the same day. The book was named the SF Chronicle’s “Most Anticipated Release of 2016” and the New York Times called it an “exuberant, poignant, and brave tale” that should not be missed.
Here, she talks to SF Weekly about what it’s like to try to write a book that is also a book, how she writes about her experiences with feminism and how she