BCB 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

The time: not so long from now. The place: AutoAmerica, a country surveilled by one “Aunt Nettie,” a Big Brother that is part artificial intelligence, part internet, and oddly human—even funny. The people: divided. The “angel-fair” Netted have jobs, and, what with the country half underwater, literally occupy the high ground. The Surplus live on swampland if they’re lucky, on water if they’re not.

The story: to a Surplus couple—he once a professor, she still a lawyer—is born a girl with a golden arm. At two, Gwen is hurling her stuffed animals from the crib; by ten, she can hit whatever target she likes. Her teenage years find her happily playing in an underground baseball league. When AutoAmerica faces ChinRussia in the Olympics, though, Gwen attracts interest. Soon she finds herself in dangerous territory, playing ball with the Netted even as her mother battles this apartheid-like society in court.

Provocative, moving, and yet paradoxically buoyant, The Resisters is the story of one family struggling to maintain their humanity in circumstances that threaten their every value—indeed, their very existence. It is Gish Jen at her most irresistible, her most insightful, and her most electrifying.