adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $24.50

Buy for $24.50

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Named a Best Book of the Year by Time, The Washington Post, and Harper's Bazaar

“A tender, spiky family saga about love in all its mysterious incarnations.” (Lorrie Moore, author of A Gate at the Stairs and Birds of America)

“Absolutely luminous.... Weaves the transience of suburbia between the highs and lows of a family saga.... Shocks, awes, and delights.” (Bryan Washington, author of Memorial)

From the outside, the Chengs seem like so-called model immigrants. Once Patty landed a tech job near Dallas, she and Liang grew secure enough to have a second child and to send for their first from his grandparents back in China. Isn’t this what they sacrificed so much for? But then little Annabel begins to sleepwalk at night, putting into motion a string of misunderstandings that not only threaten to set their community against them, but force to the surface the secrets that have made them fear one another. How can a man make peace with the terrors of his past? How can a child regain trust in unconditional love? How can a family stop burying its history and forge a way through it, to a more honest intimacy? 

Nights When Nothing Happened is gripping storytelling immersed in the crosscurrents that have reshaped the American landscape, from a prodigious new literary talent.

©2020 Simon Han (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“In this beautiful, unsettling novel, Simon Han captures the state of being awake and yet asleep, of belonging and yet not, of waiting for the moment when the world opens up. With the turn of a crystalline sentence, he is reveals how fragile we are, and what it takes to survive. An unbelievable debut." (Kevin Wilson, author of Nothing to See Here and The Family Fang)

"Han expertly shifts the ground under the narrative, constantly shaking the snow globe to nudge the reader's perspective away from the familiar.... [the] characters are authentic, vulnerable, and utterly convincing, delivering one dynamite novel. An astutely realized portrait of the collateral damage wrought by the pursuit of the American dream.” (Kirkus Reviews [starred])

"In this exemplary debut, Han explores childhood trauma and the impact words and silence can have on both building and harming relationships. He writes with sensitivity and tenderness, allowing his fully fleshed-out characters to take on lives of their own and tell their heartbreaking perspectives directly to readers. Readers will be gripped by this beautiful debut.”(Booklist)

What listeners say about Nights When Nothing Happened

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    9
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

lyrically beautiful

I listened to “Nights When Nothing Happened” by Simon Hen, narrated by James Chen. After listening to this, I feel I should have read it. There is so much that is quietly stated, so many subtle, yet intricate sentences that it was difficult for me to totally enjoy this story. James Chen is a great narrator; it’s not the narration. It’s the complexities of the quiet observations that, for me, are better read. This is a literary work that deserves a slow read.

It’s a story of a Chinese immigrant family settling in Plano Texas. Patty, the matriarch is gainfully employed at a microchip company. She came to the United States first. And then her husband, Liang came. He’s a photographer and struggles to work because his English is not good. They both left their son, Jack in China with his grandparents. Jack comes to the United States after his sister Annabel is born. Jack isn’t a fan of Plano Texas, and he misses China.

The story is about the Chinese immigrant story, the issues involved in assimilation. The story picks up suspense when outspoken and frank Annabel becomes a bit of a terror in kindergarten. Annabel also has a sleepwalking problem that becomes Jack’s problem. No one in this story gets much sleep, but the heavy burden falls upon Jack.

Willful Annabel triggers an issue with neighbors, pointing abuse charges at Liang. It is an issue that could have been resolved if Liang was fluent in English. But more than that, Simon Hen brings in a part of American society where children can accuse adults of things that have heavy consequences. Once gossip and the authorities are involved, it’s impossible to dig out, especially if you are an immigrant.

The story deserves 5 stars for it’s literary beauty. The prose is great, and the story is so achingly real.