Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
How Much of These Hills Is Gold
Cover of How Much of These Hills Is Gold
How Much of These Hills Is Gold
A Novel
Borrow Borrow Borrow
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
A WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 BOOKER PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE 2020 CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE
NATIONAL BESTSELLER
A NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION "5 UNDER 35" HONOREE

A GOOP Book Club Pick
“A fully immersive epic drama packed with narrative riches and exquisitely crafted prose.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Belongs on a shelf all of its own.” —NPR
“Outstanding.” —The Washington Post

“Arresting, beautiful.” —The New York Times
 
Revolutionary . . . A visionary addition to American literature.” —Star Tribune
An electric debut novel set against the twilight of the American gold rush, two siblings are on the run in an unforgiving landscape—trying not just to survive but to find a home.

Ba dies in the night; Ma is already gone. Newly orphaned children of immigrants, Lucy and Sam are suddenly alone in a land that refutes their existence. Fleeing the threats of their western mining town, they set off to bury their father in the only way that will set them free from their past. Along the way, they encounter giant buffalo bones, tiger paw prints, and the specters of a ravaged landscape as well as family secrets, sibling rivalry, and glimpses of a different kind of future.
Both epic and intimate, blending Chinese symbolism and reimagined history with fiercely original language and storytelling, How Much of These Hills Is Gold is a haunting adventure story, an unforgettable sibling story, and the announcement of a stunning new voice in literature. On a broad level, it explores race in an expanding country and the question of where immigrants are allowed to belong. But page by page, it’s about the memories that bind and divide families, and the yearning for home.
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
A WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 BOOKER PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE 2020 CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE
NATIONAL BESTSELLER
A NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION "5 UNDER 35" HONOREE

A GOOP Book Club Pick
“A fully immersive epic drama packed with narrative riches and exquisitely crafted prose.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Belongs on a shelf all of its own.” —NPR
“Outstanding.” —The Washington Post

“Arresting, beautiful.” —The New York Times
 
Revolutionary . . . A visionary addition to American literature.” —Star Tribune
An electric debut novel set against the twilight of the American gold rush, two siblings are on the run in an unforgiving landscape—trying not just to survive but to find a home.

Ba dies in the night; Ma is already gone. Newly orphaned children of immigrants, Lucy and Sam are suddenly alone in a land that refutes their existence. Fleeing the threats of their western mining town, they set off to bury their father in the only way that will set them free from their past. Along the way, they encounter giant buffalo bones, tiger paw prints, and the specters of a ravaged landscape as well as family secrets, sibling rivalry, and glimpses of a different kind of future.
Both epic and intimate, blending Chinese symbolism and reimagined history with fiercely original language and storytelling, How Much of These Hills Is Gold is a haunting adventure story, an unforgettable sibling story, and the announcement of a stunning new voice in literature. On a broad level, it explores race in an expanding country and the question of where immigrants are allowed to belong. But page by page, it’s about the memories that bind and divide families, and the yearning for home.
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Subjects-
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Gold

    Ba dies in the night, prompting them to seek two silver dollars.


    Sam's tapping an angry beat come morning, but Lucy, before they go, feels a need to speak. Silence weighs harder on her, pushes till she gives way.

    "Sorry," she says to Ba in his bed. The sheet that tucks him is the only clean stretch in this dim and dusty shack, every surface black with coal. Ba didn't heed the mess while living and in death his mean squint goes right past it. Past Lucy. Straight to Sam. Sam the favorite, round bundle of impatience circling the doorway in too-big boots. Sam clung to Ba's every word while living and now won't meet the man's gaze. That's when it hits Lucy: Ba really is gone.

    She digs a bare toe into dirt floor, rooting for words to make Sam listen. To spread benediction over years of hurt. Dust hangs ghostly in the light from the lone window. No wind to stir it.

    Something prods Lucy's spine.

    "Pow," Sam says. Eleven to Lucy's twelve, wood to her water as Ma liked to say, Sam is nonetheless shorter by a full foot. Looks young, deceptively soft. "Too slow. You're dead." Sam cocks fingers back on pudgy fists and blows on the muzzle of an imagined gun. The way Ba used to. Proper way to do things, Ba said, and when Lucy said Teacher Leigh said these new guns didn't clog and didn't need blowing, Ba judged the proper way was to slap her. Stars burst behind her eyes, a flint of pain sharp in her nose.

    Lucy's nose never did grow back straight. She thumbs it, thinking. Proper way, Ba said, was to let it heal itself. When he looked at Lucy's face after the bloom of bruise faded, he nodded right quick. Like he'd planned it all along. Proper that you should have something to rememory you for sassing.

    There's dirt on Sam's brown face, sure, and gunpowder rubbed on to look (Sam thinks) like Indian war paint, but beneath it all, Sam's face is unblemished.

    Just this once, because Ba's fists are helpless and stiff under the blanket-and maybe she is good, is smart, thinks in some small part that riling Ba might make him rise to swing at her-Lucy does what she never does. She cocks her hands, points her fingers. Prods Sam's chin where paint gives way to baby fat. The jaw another might call delicate, if not for Sam's way of jutting it.

    "Pow yourself," Lucy says. She pushes Sam like an outlaw to the door.

    Sun sucks them dry. Middle of the dry season, rain by now a distant memory. Their valley is bare dirt, halved by a wriggle of creek. On this side are the miners' flimsy shacks, on the other the moneyed buildings with proper walls, glass windows. And all around, circumscribing, the endless hills seared gold; and hidden within their tall, dry grasses, ragtag camps of prospectors and Indians, knots of vaqueros and travelers and outlaws, and the mine, and more mines, and beyond, and beyond.

    Sam squares small shoulders and sets out across the creek, red shirt a shout against the barrenness.

    When they first arrived there was still long yellow grass in this valley, and scrub oaks on the ridge, and poppies after rain. The flood three and a half years back rooted up those oaks, drowned or chased away half the people. Yet their family stayed, set alone at the valley's far edge. Ba like one of those lightning-split trees: dead down the center, roots still gripping on.

    And now that Ba's gone?

    Lucy fits her bare feet to Sam's prints and keeps quiet, saving spit. The water's long gone, the world after the flood left somehow thirstier.

    And long gone, Ma.

    Across the creek...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 11, 2019
    Zhang’s extraordinary debut, a beautifully rendered family saga, centers on a pair of siblings, Lucy, 12, and Sam, 11, who are left orphaned in the wake of the American gold rush. When their father—a former prospector and coal miner whom they call Ba—dies after a short, hard life of toil and drink, Lucy and Sam want to bury him properly, according to Chinese burial traditions. This means two silver dollars to cover his eyes, but it’s two silver dollars the two don’t have. Clever Lucy attempts to appeal to the townspeople’s sympathy, but it’s hotheaded Sam, armed with their father’s pistol, who understands that it takes force to make things happen. With their father’s decomposing body, the pistol, and a stolen horse, Lucy and Sam disappear into the hills. As they search for a burial site and look forward to a future for themselves, Lucy and Sam reckon with how gold, ambition, and desire shaped the lives of both their Ba and their beautiful, beloved, and long-departed Ma, whose womanhood never dampened her hunger and ambition, and how that greed has been passed down to them. Gorgeously written and fearlessly imagined, Zhang’s awe-inspiring novel introduces two indelible characters whose odyssey is as good as the gold they seek.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from February 1, 2020

    DEBUT With visceral directness, Zhang opens her first novel with two children waking in a mining camp in the late 1800s American West and finding their father dead. As narrated by older child Lucy, various details emerge, if not explicitly; these children are of Asian ancestry, and the younger child, Sam, identifies as a boy but is biologically a girl. Discriminated against and destitute, the siblings flee with the corpse on a stolen horse; their flight finally comes to an end when they can bury their father. The book then shifts to their parents' backstory, unfolding the family's origins, their gold-fueled success, and their downfall when they lose their mother. The story then jumps forward five years, with Sam off adventuring as a man and Lucy acting as a companion to a wealthy white woman. Once they reunite, they set off to cross back to Asia, and on the way Lucy pays for Sam's freedom with her own. But at what cost? VERDICT This moving tale of family, gold, and freedom rings with a truth that defies rosy preconceptions. The description of human and environmental degradation is balanced by shining characters who persevere greatly. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 10/7/19.]--Henry Bankhead, San Rafael P.L., CA

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    February 1, 2020
    A first-time novelist explores timely questions about home and belonging in a story set during the gold rush in a reimagined American West. Even now, when most of what used to be the Wild West has begun to look like everywhere else--a few big cities spread out among sprawling suburbs full of chain restaurants and strip malls, connected by interstate highways and digital networks--a mythic version of this part of the country endures alongside the reality. That there is a place where anyone can strike it rich or, failing that, at least live free is one of the stories Americans love to tell ourselves. Zhang plays with this duality in her brutally lyrical debut. Lucy and Sam's family left China for North America with the idea that their father, Ba, would become a prospector. The gold rush is over before they get there, though; he ends up mining coal instead. Sam's daydreams of being a cowboy exist alongside the naked racism his family endures, but the romantic wish to be an outlaw comes true when Lucy and Sam are forced to flee their small mining village after their father's death, taking his corpse with them because they lack the means to give it the burial that will let his ghost rest. As they travel through desiccated landscapes littered with the bones of tigers and buffalo, Lucy and Sam meet archetypes we think we know from Westerns, but they are stripped of romance. The journey of these two children--and the backstories of their parents--force us to confront just how white the history we've been taught is. Aside from fictions--some fanciful inventions, some hateful lies--about Native Americans, we don't hear much about the experiences of people of color and immigrants in shaping the West. Zhang asks readers to acknowledge a legacy we have been taught to ignore by creating a new and spellbinding mythology of her own. Aesthetically arresting and a vital contribution to America's conversation about itself.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    March 1, 2020
    Beijing-born, globally-trotted, San Francisco-domiciled Zhang is still looking for home, her author bio shouts. That search for home?uncertain, elusive, just-out-of-reach?looms throughout Zhang's mesmerizing debut novel in which a family of four (which should have been five) never quite arrives. Avoiding grounding details?geography remains generally unnamed, centuries are literally Xed out ( XX62, Part One begins)?Zhang reveals as much through deliberate elision as meticulous storytelling. Somewhere in the American West, the Gold Rush has waned, coal mining is stifling, assumed foreigners remain suspect. Already motherless for three-and-a-half-years, 12-year-old Lucy and 11-year-old Sam become orphans when their Ba dies. Their need to find a home for Ba's remains becomes an epic quest that both estranges and unites them. Traversing decades through four succinct parts?sibling flight in XX62, Ma's plans in XX59, Ba's origins in XX42 and beyond, surviving adulthood in XX67?Zhang, just 29, writes with precocious assurance as she confronts the inseparable connections between lies, liars, and secrets; the barriers of language; the impossible price of family bonds, and the everlasting longing to find home.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Penguin Publishing Group
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

Please update to the latest version of the OverDrive app to stream videos.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
How Much of These Hills Is Gold
How Much of These Hills Is Gold
A Novel
C Pam Zhang
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel