China Mountain Zhang

Maureen F. McHugh
China Mountain Zhang Cover

China Mountain Zhang


A decade in the life of the main character, sometimes from another's point of view. Not really coming of age, but definitely growth and maturation. A fair bit of world building from the author as well. Nominated for a handful of awards, including Locus best first novel.

The main character Zhang has some moody periods, but in general makes friends and is the sort to get things done. He travels to other locations, so we get a look at future New York, China, Baffin Bay, and even Mars (through one of his students). I really appreciated his engineering / architecture studies. The author worked as an editor of virtual reality game projects, and it seems there may be a connection between author and protagonist here.

And yet... this novel wasn't easy to read, and I can't quite put a finger on why. It took me a month of occasional reading, and I wasn't drawn back to it. Other reviewers have commented on how the story is mostly linear; I found the jumps in time a little startling.

McHugh published quite a few short stories before this novel. I plan to check some of them out.