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Zhang Ling Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Gold Mountain Blues (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Single Swallow (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Where Waters Meet (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
Aftershock (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Collective Memories of 48 Sent-Down Youths in Liaoxi-Shenyang (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Zhang Ling
Zhang Ling was born in China in 1957. She is a former senior audiologist and fiction writer in Toronto, Canada. She came to Canada in 1986 in order to pursue her MA in English at University of Calgary. Zhang obtained her second MA degree in Communication disorders at the University of Cincinnati.

She has won numerous important literary prizes in China. “Aftershock”, a novella, was adapted into China’s first IMAX movie that was directed by Feng Xiaogang. The movie soon became a great box office success, and went on to gross over US$100 million at the Chinese box office.

“A Single Swallow”, the English version of one of her novels, was listed on the 2017 Sina list of best books. It became Amazon’s #1 Kindle bestseller in Chinese literature and WWII historical fiction. It also won AudioFile Earphones Award and was listed with The New York Times Globetrotting in 2021.

“Gold Mountain Blues” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2011. Five generations, one family. An epic story about loss and love.

China in 1879. Fong Tak-Fat, with the Opium wars being at their height, boards a ship headed to Canada, determined to make a life for himself and support his family back home. He’ll endure profound hardship while working to build the Pacific Railway and save every penny that he makes to reunite his family.

Canada in 2004. Amy Smith doesn’t know anything about her family history, with a secret that her mom won’t share, until she’s summoned on back to her ancestral home in China to collect the forgotten belongings of some family members she’s never met before. Can she finally unlock the door to her own past?

Telling the story of a family’s journey through five generations and across the seas, this novel is a heartrending story of endurance, sacrifice, survival, and hope.

“A Single Swallow” is the second stand alone novel and was released in 2020. Zhang’s intimate and epic novel about the devastation of forgiveness, war, redemption, and the enduring power of love.

On the day of the historic 1945 Jewel Voice Broadcast, in which Emperor Hirohito announced Japan was surrendering to the Allied forces, which brought an end to WWII, three guys, flush with jubilation, made this pact. After each of their deaths, each year on the anniversary of this broadcast, their souls would return to the Chinese village of their younger days. It is where they had fought, and survived, a war which shook the world and changed their lives in pretty unimaginable ways. Now, some seventy years later, this pledge is being fulfilled by Liu Zhaohu (local soldier), Pastor Billy (an American missionary), and Ian Ferguson (brash gunner’s mate).

The only one that’s missing is Ah Yan (also known as Swallow) the girl that each of the three men loved, each in his own profound way.

While they unravel their personal stories of this war, and of that woman that touched them so deeply during such an unforgiving time, the story about Ah Yan’s life starts taking shape, woven into view by their memories. One woman that had suffered unspeakable atrocities, yet found the dignity and grace to survive, she had been the one that brought them together. And it’s her spark of humanity, which still burns brightly, that gives these three ghosts from the past the bravery to look back on all that they endured and remember the woman that they lost.

Readers found this to be a literary work suffused with descriptive and prodigious exposition.

“Where Waters Meet” is the third stand alone novel and was released in 2023. A daughter learns the dramatic history which shaped her mom’s secret life in this immersive and emotional novel from Zhang.

There was rarely ever a time when Rain, Phoenix Yuan-Whyller’s mom, did not live with her. Even Phoenix got married, Rain, who followed her from China to Toronto, came to share Phoenix’s life. Rain’s unexpected death at the age of eighty-three ushers in this heartrending separation.

Phoenix, who struggles with such a loss, came across a suitcase of her mom’s, this memory box that Rain had brought from home. Inside it, she finds two old photographs and this decorative bottle which holds a crystallized powder. Mei, her auntie, tells her that these missing pieces of her mom’s early life can just be explained when they meet, and so, clutching onto her mom’s ashes, Phoenix boards a plane headed for China. What initially seems like a daughter’s quest to uncover a mom’s secrets turns into a stunning journey of self-discovery.

Told across continents and decades, this exquisite novel is a story about extraordinary courage and survival. This illuminates the resilience of humanity, the secrets we keep and the ones we share, the brutalities of life, and the driving forces that it takes to survive.

“Aftershock” is the fourth stand alone novel and was released in 2024. This catastrophic disaster in China triggers this mom’s heartbreaking decision and one daughter’s reconciliation with the past in such a powerful novel.

Summer of 1976, this earthquake swallows up the city of Tangshan, China. Among the hundreds of thousands of people that scrambling for their survival is one mom that makes the agonizing choice which irrevocably changes her life as well as the lives of her kids. In this devastating split second, Xiaodeng (her seven year old daughter) gets separated from her brother and the mom she trusts and loves. All that Xiaodeng can remember of that fateful morning is the betrayal.

Thirty years later, and Xiaodeng is an acclaimed writer that lives in Canada with a caring husband and their daughter. But her newfound fame and success don’t do too much to cover the deep wounds which disrupt her life again and again, and push her toward a breaking point. Xiaodeng realizes the one path toward her healing is to go back to Tangshan, locate her mom, and get some closure.

Spanning three decades of cultural and emotional aftershocks of disaster, Zhang’s intimate epic explores the healing pull of family, the damages of guilt, and the hope of one woman who, after so many years, still longs to be saved.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Zhang Ling

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