A Daughter’s Quest: On Anne Liu Kellor’s “Heart Radical”

A Daughter’s Quest: On Anne Liu Kellor’s “Heart Radical”

Los Angeles Review of Books

Amy Reardon

Anne Liu Kellor, Heart Radical: A Search for Language, Love, and Belonging (Berkeley, California: She Writes Press, 2021)

GROWING UP ASIAN AMERICAN in Seattle, Anne Liu Kellor struggled to understand the ache she carried inside. Her debut memoir, Heart Radical, tracks the author’s journeys to China and back home again in the late ’90s and early 2000s in search of her true self.

We meet Kellor after college, having become consumed with the need to learn the Chinese language and live in China. What she can’t seem to get her hands around is why. “All I knew was — I was filled with an intense longing and sorrow. Sorrow for the magnitude of suffering in the world, in China and Tibet, and within myself. Sorrow which I felt so clearly, but couldn’t understand why I felt so deep.”

There are clues. First among them, a general sense of opacity in her relationship with her mother, who immigrated from China as a girl, married a white man, and had two daughters. Also, there is this: “[N]or had anyone ever talked to me about what it was like to grow up multiracial — neither white nor fully Chinese, nor yet invited into a wider inclusivity as a person of color. Instead, everywhere I went, even at family reunions, I was simply reminded of my difference.”…

Read the entire review here.

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