Reading – Chemistry: A Novel by Weike Wong – 3 in a series

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – Chemistry: A Novel by Weike Wong – 3 in a series

Chemistry book

A slice-of-life novel from worlds which are relatively unknown to me — China and New York City. A Chinese-America Ph.D in Chemistry candidate struggles with work, relationships and the burden of Chinese parents who expect nothing but the absolute best from her — and nothing but what they want and require. Her relationship falls apart, as does her career and she spends the entire novel being indecisive – waffling over this and that — but perhaps she can find a way through to the next phase in her life. 

It can be sad to read of someone so lost in their life, but the novel is littered with Chinese proverbs, geeky chemistry jokes, and small portions of life that bring her joy. As the husband of someone who achieved their own Ph.D, the struggle and the challenges seem quite real and understandable.


  • Named a Notable Work of Fiction in 2017 by The Washington Post and one of PBS NewsHour’s 5 Books from 2017
  • An NPR Best Book of 2017
  • National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” Honoree

“Chemistry starts as a charming confection and then proceeds to add on layers of emotional depth and complexity with every page. It is to Wang’s great credit that she manages to infuse such seriousness with so much light. I loved this novel.” —Ann Patchett

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† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

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