Holding Pattern

Honoree, 5 Under 35 2023

ISBN 9780593539705
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House
Jenny Xie. (Photo credit: Cheryl Chan) author photo
Jenny Xie

Jenny Xie is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. Originally from Shanghai, she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned her MFA at Johns Hopkins University. Her work has appeared in AGNI, Ninth Letter, Joyland, Narrative Magazine, and The Best of the Net Anthology. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

What happens when an ambitious and successful twenty-something is forced to start over? She moves in with mom.

At 28, Kathleen Cheng is back home in her childhood bedroom in Oakland, expecting to find her single mother as she’s always known her: depressed and desperate to return to China. Instead, her mother Marissa is like a renovated version of herself, unexpectedly sporty, pert, happy, and worst of all, in love. Soon Kathleen is roped into helping her mother plan her upcoming Big Sur wedding to a tech entrepreneur.

To keep herself sane, Kathleen takes a job working for an unusual start-up, and here too, she feels she’s moving backwards while the world of Silicon Valley innovates on the cutting edge. Her new job and the unexpected revelations that follow push Kathleen and Marissa’s relationship to the brink.

As mother and daughter peel back the layers of their history—the old wounds, cultural barriers, and complex affection—they must come to a new understanding of how they can propel each other forward, and what they’ve done to hold the other back. Keenly observant, tender, and warm, Holding Pattern is a hopeful novel about immigration and belonging, mother-daughter relationships, and the many ways we can learn to hold each other.