Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Girl in Translation

Jean Kwok

An honest, unsettling glimpse into the hardships of immigrant life. Kim's voice, narrating the story, is very raw, and there's something enticingly readable in the way that we see how she struggles with a new language, a new culture as well as the usual teenage trials of growing up and falling in love.


Finally, the heat got so bad that Ma bought us a small fan and we set it in front of our mattresses. After work, we both caught our breath in front of that fan, sitting on the mattresses on the floor, our backs resting against the wall. Slowly, two yellowish human-shaped stains developed against the cracked paint: a small one for me and a larger one for Ma. Those stains are probably still there in that apartment, and I've dreamed about them, about our skin cells, our droplets of oil and sweat, sunk into that porous wall, bits of us that will never escape.

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