A Quitter’s Paradise

Elysha Chang

A glorious, pondering, heartbreaking, extremely funny, very special book.

- Sarah Jessica Parker , SJP Lit

A Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Summer Reading List Pick • An NPR Critics Summer Pick • A Good Morning America Pick of the Month • A Good Reads Big Buzz Debut • A Tertulia Staff Pick of the Month • An Electric Literature Best Novel of 2023

“Compelling . . . Studded with sublime wit.” —New York Times Book Review

In A Quitter’s Paradise, the darkly humorous debut by bold, new voice Elysha Chang, a young woman does everything she can to ignore her mother’s death, even as unearthed family secrets become increasingly inextricable from her own.





Page count




Sale date

June 6, 2023


5.5 x 8.25

About the Book

Eleanor knows she’s been acting strangely. She’s dropped out of her PhD program and is ignoring calls from her husband. Lately, she finds herself walking circles in the park, leaving a trail of nuts and raisins in her wake. It’s all, in some sense, a response to her mother’s recent death. This she knows. But Eleanor can’t understand how you are supposed to grieve a mother you never understood. How do you love a person who refused to make herself known?

As Eleanor wends her way forward, we catch glimpses of the past. Eleanor’s parents emigrate from Taiwan to Queens in 1979. The couple thrives in business, importing Taiwanese-made trinkets and managing a growing number of workers at their warehouse. But Rita and Jing Liu remain confounded by the process of raising their two daughters. How do you dole out affection, discipline, protection, and care in a strange place, in a foreign tongue?


Deliciously provocative and exquisitely crafted, A Quitter’s Paradise is an intimate, intergenerational saga of American immigrant ambition, and a profound contemplation of its long afterlife. With a deft hand and a humor distinctly her own, Elysha Chang explores the extent to which we unwittingly guard the hearts of our loved ones, even from ourselves.


“A drolly comedic tale . . . reminiscent of Rachel Khong’s Goodbye, Vitamin and Weike Wang’s Chemistry.”

- Leland Cheuk, NPR

“Compelling . . . Chang’s storytelling is beautifully subtle, often studded with sublime wit.”

- Kia Corthron, New York Times Book Review

“A sharp, intimate, and poignant investigation of grief, family dynamics, and selfhood.”

- Electric Literature

“With tenderness and humor, Elysha Chang . . . [asks] what it means for a first-generation daughter to stop striving, to want a meaningful life on different terms. A riveting, wise, and singular novel about grief, love, longing, and the mysteries of family, A Quitter’s Paradise will linger in your heart and mind.”

- Jessamine Chan, New York Times bestselling author of The School for Good Mothers

“Strange and wonderful.”

- The Post & Courier

“A highly enjoyable read… written in a funny style.”

- Zibby Owens, Good Morning America

“Calls to mind recent explorations of science and relationships, including Weike Wang’s Chemistry and Brandon Taylor’s Real Life.”

- Keziah Weir, Vanity Fair

“[A] sweeping family saga . . . Exploring the intersections of love and obligation, duty and commitment, the independence of new lifestyles and the appeal of old traditions, Chang’s novel will appeal to fans of Helen Fisher’s Faye Faraway and Tracey Lien’s All That’s Left Unsaid.”

- Booklist

“This is a deep, propulsive, poignant and unflinching portrayal of a family in all of its mystery. Elysha Chang writes with remarkable precision, humor and grace, while knowing full well there are no easy answers when it comes to love and grief.”

- Sam Lipsyte, author of No One Left to Come Looking for You

“A masterpiece that wrangles several lifetimes of wisdom, loss and heartbreak into a slim novel you can clutch to your chest, pass on to your sharpest, most mercurial friends and say: read this, feel this!”

- Xuan Juliana Wang, author of Home Remedies

A bittersweet family saga about a young woman from a second generation immigrant family coping with her mother’s death.”

- Tertulia