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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Editors' Choice

A witty, moving, piercingly insightful new novel about a marvelously complicated woman who can’t be anyone but herself, from the award-winning author of Chemistry.

“A deeply felt portrait.... With gimlet-eyed observation laced with darkly biting wit, Weike Wang masterfully probes the existential uncertainty of being other in America.” (Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere)

One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2022 - Esquire, BuzzFeed, Bustle, Town & Country, Ms. magazine, The Millions, Electric Lit, Lit Hub 

Joan is a 30-something ICU doctor at a busy New York City hospital. The daughter of Chinese parents who came to the United States to secure the American dream for their children, Joan is intensely devoted to her work, happily solitary, successful. She does look up sometimes and wonder where her true roots lie: at the hospital, where her white coat makes her feel needed, or with her family, who try to shape her life by their own cultural and social expectations. 

Once Joan and her brother, Fang, were established in their careers, her parents moved back to China, hoping to spend the rest of their lives in their homeland. But when Joan’s father suddenly dies and her mother returns to America to reconnect with her children, a series of events sends Joan spiraling out of her comfort zone just as her hospital, her city, and the world are forced to reckon with a health crisis more devastating than anyone could have imagined. 

Deceptively spare yet quietly powerful, laced with sharp humor, Joan Is Okay touches on matters that feel deeply resonant: being Chinese American right now; working in medicine at a high-stakes time; finding one’s voice within a dominant culture; being a woman in a male-dominated workplace; and staying independent within a tight-knit family. But above all, it’s a portrait of one remarkable woman so surprising that you can’t get her out of your head.

©2022 Weike Wang (P)2022 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Joan Is Okay

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Loved it!

At first I didn't think I would enjoy this book because I'd read other novels that were written as monologs and didn't find them interesting because there wasn't really a story. But I loved this book because her point of view was so clearly described. It was like peeking into her brain. And I enjoyed her personality and perspectives. The narration was spot on, too.

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Amazing Story!

I love the refreshing views through the characters and the cultural viewpoint. An important read!

3 people found this helpful

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Quirky funny

I liked this book. Main character is quirky but funny. Story has multiple layers, some obvious and some not as much.

2 people found this helpful

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ok but not great

interesting, Asian family dynamics, neighbors, work, colleagues, however find it difficult to recommend....slow moving story

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Layered message

I enjoyed reading this book. There is so much to unpack here with all the layers of socio-cultural issues built into a seemingly simple story about a complex protagonist heading into the 2020 pandemic. There is the immigrant story, the Asian story, the being female story, the social class story, the education story, the New York story, and more. I’d read it again. I’d read this author some more!

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Wonderful Story

This book was amazing. it was funny and insightful!! Hopefully there will be another one soon.

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Pandemonium

It's been a long run. Our student from China went home April 2020. We still talk but I miss her. I thought about her a lot while listening.

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One of the best books I've ever read

I'm a constant reader and I one as I was reading, this is one of my favorite books, ever. I'm going to re-read it very soon. Wang writes in a simple way, somehow capturing an enormous depth of character in Joan, the protagonist. Joan's family, workplace, and colleagues are also drawn in fantastic detail. Joan is a physician whose family immigrated from China, and issues around home and country are central. Joan is Okay is deep, sometimes sad, and also laugh-out-loud funny. Read it.

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An author to watch

I really enjoyed this intense but often funny character study. She may come across to others as stand-offish, but the author did a great job of getting you to see Joan's perspective. And she actually knew herself quite well.

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Articulated all the immigrant angst I unknowingly buried

If you have experienced any part of the Asian immigrant journey, this book will have you in pained, but wholly cathartic, tears. That’s only after much intermittent laughter and vigorous head nodding and empathetic wincing because Weike Wang is so artful in mingling profound insights and witty humor. This is my first book of Ms. Wang’s but certainly not my last - I’m so thankful for her talent and so proud to call her one of ours. :)
Oh, and if you’re like me and can’t get enough of Wang, she’s published prolifically in the New Yorker magazine!