• Chemistry

  • A Novel
  • By: Weike Wang
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 4 hrs and 53 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (305 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A luminous coming-of-age novel about a young female scientist who must recalibrate her life when her academic career goes off track, perfect for fans of Lab Girl and Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You.

Three years into her graduate studies at a demanding Boston university, the unnamed narrator of this nimbly wry, concise debut finds her onetime love for chemistry is more hypothesis than reality. She's tormented by her failed research - and reminded of her delays by her peers, her advisor, and most of all her Chinese parents, who have always expected nothing short of excellence from her throughout her life.

But there's another, nonscientific question looming: the marriage proposal from her devoted boyfriend, a fellow scientist whose path through academia has been relatively free of obstacles and with whom she can't make a life before finding success on her own. Eventually the pressure mounts so high that she must leave everything she thought she knew about her future and herself behind. And for the first time, she's confronted with a question she won't find the answer to in a textbook: What do I really want?

Over the next two years, this winningly flawed, disarmingly insightful heroine learns the formulas and equations for a different kind of chemistry - one in which the reactions can't be quantified, measured, and analyzed, one that can be studied only in the mysterious language of the heart. Taking us deep inside her scattered, searching mind, here is a brilliant new literary voice that astutely juxtaposes the elegance of science, the anxieties of finding a place in the world, and the sacrifices made for love and family.

©2017 Weike Wang (P)2017 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Chemistry

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    4 out of 5 stars

Having a tiger mother can really mess you up!

Where does Chemistry rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I enjoyed it...having been a chemistry major myself, I identified with the experiences and emotions that surprised and overwhelmed the nameless main character.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I liked Eric for his steadfastness and calm. We all need someone like this in our lives,

Which character – as performed by Julia Whelan – was your favorite?

Julia Whelan did a great job of expressing the everyday experiences and emotions of the main character in a straightforward manner without being deadpan.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed out loud at the main character because she was so honest in describing her everyday experiences and the events that happened to her. Spoiler Alert. .... My heart broke for her when it became obvious that she would not achieve success in her chosen academic path and then the resulting emotionally devastating fall out. I loved that she discovered her true talent.....being able to foster understanding of math and science topics as a tutor.

Any additional comments?

Audible is the best thing since sliced bread.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Poignant and intense

I loved every minute of this short novel that says so much in so few words. I'll certainly be looking for more from the author. Bravo, Weike Wang!

1 person found this helpful

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Jeca_b

This book was sharp and smart. I loved every minute of the story - I only wish it were longer!

1 person found this helpful

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Sweet and Sour. Light and Heavy. Perfect.

Perfect book for summer-full of just the right contrasts. Sweet but sour. Both light and heavy at the same time. About nothing, about everything. About the Chinese, about Americans. Children and Parents, lovers and fighters. The yin and the yang, the push and the pull. Chemistry. Trying to figure it out and making a mess of it. Finding truth. Just perfect.

3 people found this helpful

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EXQUISITE

Is that a weird way to describe a book? Because that’s literally the only word I can think of after finishing this book. The performance, the story , the character, ugh! Everything was great. I will listen again!

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New insights

I have always thought about being an immigrant in this country. I have straddled two divergent cultures for more years than not. The writer provided me with new ideas on what it’s like to be the child of immigrants. This has inspired me to walk that road again.

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Delightful, dark humor

Darkly funny, and insightful-- with a really wonderful narrator who brings out the nuance and mordant humor.

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Fantastic. Real. Beautifully non linear.

This is one of my favorite books now. It's a tale told out of sequence and is better for it. Rich in culture and academic experience and the complications of relationship. I loved the metaphors with chemistry.

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So Deep

Such a great book. At first, I was not with it, with the narrator's point of view, because we are the complete opposite but then man- something clicks and you are all in.

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I couldn't put it down!

I listened with my girlfriend who is a chemistry PhD student and our hearts wrenched together, our voices laughed together, we awwwed together! Once it was finished we instantly stalked her own social media and was blissfully happy! 11/10! Would recommend!