About the Book

Budding artist Henriette Truax has vowed to stay in Manhattan, art market to the world, until she has achieved a show of her own there. While creating the art for that show she will have to support herself. This is 2009, at the height of the Great Recession. Paying jobs these days are more often lost than won.

La Ma, ex-cadre of the Communist Party of China and currently owner of the Pike Street, Chinatown, apartment block Henriette lives in, is all gungho for gentrification. She offers Henriette a rent holiday in exchange for her hard-up tenant’s lining up respectable whities to replace the Chinese illegals who, almost without exception—Henriette and a punky teenager the exceptions—occupy the Pike Street property.

Henriette accepts the offer only to find that the white folks she brings in destroy the calm of the place—the calm necessary if she is to accomplish good work. Worse yet, former neighbors are peeved with her for getting them pushed out.

Her successful foray into the real estate trade, the misgivings it gave rise to, form the entwined themes of Henriette’s first onewoman exhibition. A triumph saleswise, the show’s opening comes close to upending the artist emotionally when a man she is somewhat more than a little crazy about shows up uninvited.

Will Kuanshih-yin, the goddess who heeds the voices of the world and saves from pain and woe, intervene to reconcile Henriette’s artistic ambitions with the waywardness of her desires?

A distinctive, engaging dual portrayal of wish fulfillment and gritty, hard work from a writer who understands artists.
— Kirkus Reviews