NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY TIME, VOGUE, VULTURE, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, AND ELECTRIC LITERATURE
A NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION "5 UNDER 35" HONOREE
"Exquisite and wise." – New York Times “There is so much heart in these pages, so much wisdom on how we love. This book had me in its orbit, from beginning to end.” – Weike Wang, author of Joan is Okay
Kathleen Cheng has blown up her life. She’s gone through a humiliating breakup, dropped out of her graduate program, and left everything behind. Now she’s back in her childhood home in Oakland, wondering what’s next.
To her surprise, her mother isn’t the same person Kathleen remembers. No longer depressed or desperate to return to China, the new Marissa Cheng is sporty, perky, and has been transformed by love. Kathleen thought she’d be planning her own wedding, but instead finds herself helping her mother plan hers—to a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur.
Grasping for direction, Kathleen takes a job at a start-up that specializes in an unconventional form of therapy based on touch. While she negotiates new ideas about intimacy and connection, an unforeseen attachment to someone at work pushes her to rethink her relationships—especially the one with Marissa. Will they succeed in seeing each other anew, adult to adult?
As they peel back the layers of their history—the old wounds, cultural barriers, and complex affection—they must come to a new understanding of how they can propel each other forward, and what they’ve done to hold each other back. Brilliantly observant, tender, and warm, Holding Pattern is a hopeful novel about immigration and belonging, mother-daughter relationships, and the many ways we learn to hold each other.
About the Author
Jenny Xie is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. Originally from Shanghai, she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned her MFA at Johns Hopkins University. Her work has appeared in AGNI, Ninth Letter, Joyland, Narrative, and the Best of the Net Anthology. Jenny is the recipient of a Bread Loaf scholarship and fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Loghaven. She is a contributing writer for Architectural Digest, Apartment Therapy, and Dwell, where she was the executive editor.
“With warmth and humor, Xie’s debut novel upends the expected immigrant-parent-and-first-generation-daughter narrative.” – Washington Post
"Exquisite and wise...what unspools [in Holding Pattern] is often so tender that it hurts. But hope threads us back, encourages us to understand the intricacies of this life, and then to try again.” – New York Times
“Driven by Xie’s irresistible voice, this is a warm and funny debut about longing and belonging, the mother-daughter bond, and finding intimacy in an increasingly alienated world.” – Vogue
"Fans of mother-daughter stories will find much to love about this tender story on finding reconnection." – San Francisco Chronicle
"Xie brings humor, hope and cultural depth to a familiar story." – Minneapolis Star Tribune
“[A] funny and sharp debut….Xie’s strong character work keeps the narrative bubbling along on its episodic arc, and her affectionate study of the ways Kathleen and Marissa madden and inspire each other adds depth. This author is off to a stellar start.” – Publishers Weekly
"Xie is a deft chronicler of the ways power shifts between people. What emerges is a novel offering a lucid examination of a range of relationships: those between a mother and daughter, old friends, and more passing acquaintances. An engaging and heartwarming story." –Kirkus
“Xie's novel is full of mother-daughter emotions and beautiful moments of love and light.” – Booklist
“Xie brings her expansive spirit to a healing narrative that wraps, weaves, and folds into you…There is so much heart in these pages, so much wisdom on how we love. This book had me in its orbit, from beginning to end.” – Weike Wang, author of Joan is Okay
“Jenny Xie writes sentences that absolutely sparkle on the page. Holding Pattern glimmers with wit, with intelligence, with affection and chagrin…infused with compassion, good humor, and hope.” – Alice McDermott, author of The Ninth Hour
“Tender and hilarious…Jenny Xie gives readers a complicated and refreshingly honest view of heartbreak, loneliness, and caregiving in a technocratic, consumerist world.” – Jean Chen Ho, author of Fiona and Jane
“A radiant and illuminating novel that asks big questions and entertains us grandly along the way… hopeful, incisive, and exquisitely observed.” –Kyle Lucia Wu, author of Win Me Something
“A deeply moving novel about a young woman's search for intimacy… Every page brims with intelligence and insight.” –Alexandra Chang, author of Days of Distraction
“A sparkling jewel of a book, lighting up all the most alienating and bizarre features of our contemporary world with its brilliant language. Jenny Xie writes about the alienation and darkness of our world with a hopeful pen, her literary genius shining through on every page and through the vivid portrayals of each character. I flew through this book and grieved its ending." –Lydia Conklin, author of Rainbow Rainbow