Title: The Resisters
Author: Gish Jen
Retail price $26.95
Date: February 4, 2020
An audacious wonder of a novel about baseball and a future America ...
The time: Some thirty-five years hence.
The place: AutoAmerica--governed by "Aunt Nettie," an iBurrito of AI algorithms and the internet, in a land half under water.
The people: Divided into the angelfair "Netted," whose fate it is to have jobs and live on high ground, and the mostly coppertoned "Surplus," whose jobs have been stripped and whose sole duty now is to consume, living in plastic houses that talk and multi-colored houseboats at the water's edge. Neither group is happy.
The story: A Surplus family--he was once a professor, she is still a lawyer--has a girl child, Gwen, who's born with a golden arm. By two she can throw her toy animals straight to the same spot every time. When AutoAmerica and ChinRussia decide to revive the Olympics, suddenly Gwen, who's been playing in the Resisters League her parents have organized, is in great demand. Soon she's at angelfair university, Net U, falling in love with her baseball coach and facing questions of "crossing over," while her mother and her "group" are bringing charges before the botjudge about Surplus rights. An amazing story of a world that looks only too possible, and a family struggling to maintain its humanity in circumstances that daily threaten their every value as well as their very existence.
GISH JEN is the author of four previous novels, a story collection, and two works of nonfiction, the latest of which was The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap. Her honors include the Lannan Literary Award for fiction and the Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She teaches from time to time in China, and otherwise lives with her husband and two children in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Advance Priase for The Resisters
" The Resisters is palpably loving, smart, funny and desperately unsettling. The novel should be required reading for the country, both as a cautionary tale and because it is a stone-cold masterpiece. This is Gish Jen's moment. She has pitched a perfect game." -- Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House
"An absolute joy . . . I finished The Resisters with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face. Who could ask for a better combo? Gish Jen has written a one-of-a-kind book with great characters--especially Eleanor, who is the heart of the story--and a warm heart. Remind Ms. Jen that the great Ernie Banks said, 'Hey, guys, let's play two!' Which is my way of saying I wouldn't mind a sequel. Probably won't happen, but a guy can hope. P.S. This lady knows her baseball." --Stephen King, author of The Institute
"Subtle dystopian fiction . . . beautifully crafted and slyly unsettling . . . The juxtaposition of America's pastime and the AI-enabled surveillance state Jen presents here is brilliant." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"[A] shrewd and provocative near-future novel . . . [Jen's] intelligence and control shine through in a chilling portrait of the casual acceptance of totalitarianism." -- Publishers Weekly
"Can there be a dystopian novel of lightness, delicacy and charm? In which baseball, our subtle, determined summer game, is the means of resistance against the dehumanizing overlords? In which a girl who pitches like Satchel Paige is the blue-haired hero? Gish Jen says, Yes! And she is right! Where there is baseball, there is hope. And beautiful prose, too." --Cathleen Schine, author of The Grammarians
"Inventive, funny, and tender, The Resisters is about family, baseball, and the future--but more than anything, it is about freedom, and it is about us--here, now." --Allegra Goodman, author of The Chalk Artist
"Brilliant . . . A heartbreaking novel with the sensitivity, emotional range, and prophetic power of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale." --Jean Kwok, author of Searching for Sylvie Lee
"I LOVE this novel as much as I fear the future Gish Jen has conjured in it. In this anything but brave new world, baseball is what survives and reminds us of our humanity, and a girl's golden arm forms the kernel of resistance. What an enchanting conceit! Gish Jen has hit a grand slam." --Jane Leavy, author of The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World he Created