A Paper Son

jason buchholz

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“In this wonderfully imaginative novel … .The mystery of the story, while a powerful driver…becomes almost secondary to the wonder of it all.”




A Paper Son is the story of Peregrine Long—a third-grade teacher in San Francisco who spends his evenings composing stories—who, just as a massive storm falls upon San Francisco, discovers the image of a Chinese family on the surface of his tea, thereby thrusting him into the center of a century-old mystery. Peregrine becomes an unwitting guide in a search for a stranger’s uncle that dates back to 1920s China. Along the way, he is reunited with his brash and self-righteous sister and joins forces with Annabel Nightingale—an exotic polyglot who teaches kindergarten during the mornings and spends her nights beckoning to ghosts ships and cataloguing their arrivals. A Paper Son is an exquisite exploration of the Pacific immigration experience that calls to mind Gabriel García Márquez and Nicole Krauss’s The History of Love.


“Buchholz’s gripping debut is a clever supernatural thriller that plays with readers’ narrative expectations. Rich, interesting characters fill this fast-paced, magical realist novel about family connections.”
—Publishers Weekly

“The rain will not stop falling on San Francisco. Third grade teacher Peregrine Long … begins to write about Li-Yu, the daughter of Chinese immigrants to America who travels in the 1920s to her husband’s home in China … .Peregrine thinks he’s creating her story … but an older woman shows up on his doorstep demanding to know why he is writing about her family history. That is only the beginning of a series of strange events … in this wonderfully imaginative novel … .The mystery of the story, while a powerful driver of the book, becomes almost secondary to the wonder of it all.”

“Jason Buchholz’s captivating debut novel delves into myth, memory and family connections…”
—San Jose Mercury News

A Paper Son is a rivetingly imaginative debut full of deft humor and an affinity for the peculiar reminiscent of Auster and Calvino.”
—Jim Ruland, author of Forest of Fortune

“Buchholz’s first novel showcases an imagination turned up to 11. I dig books that keep me guessing, keep me gasping with every new page, each new reveal that contorts Realism into something vitally new. I was wonderfully off balance reading A Paper Son. You’ve never experienced anything like this.”
—Joshua Mohr, author of All This Life

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