by Julie Zhou

ISBN 9781938900303
Release Date: March 2019
63 pgs, 5.3″ x 7″
Read Press Release (PDF)



When you are four, you leave your grandparents’ apartment in Shanghai to live with your parents in a shoebox apartment on the University of Wisconsin’s graduate campus. Your parents feel like strangers until the day they start to tell you stories before bed and you recognize in your dad’s voice the same measured certainty, the same lilting rhythm as your grandmother has.

Your first word in Chinese was moon, yue, for the tiny crescent-shaped cookies your grandmother made you for breakfast every day. In English, you start with mama and dad and then numbers, the ten-digits of your parents’ shared cell phone. When it’s your dad’s night to sit with you, he reads from an anthology of lectures by Richard Feynman, so that you learn the alphabet as a set of variables: quadratics and theorems and sets of axes.


“Generics reveals the dangers lurking within quotidian and familiar spaces. The protagonist’s sense of grief and alienation – from her home, her language, her own body – is rendered in clear, cutting details. Identity here is revealed to be formed as much by who we are as by who we are not – the self formed out of loss and longing.”

– Danzy Senna, Judge of 2017 Fiction Chapbook Competition


Julie Zhou was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and despite a fleeting love affair with New England, has always found her way back to the Midwest. She received her B.A. in English from Carleton College in Minnesota. She currently lives in Minneapolis, where she reads by day (as the program assistant for NEA Big Read, a community reading grant initiative by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest) and writes by night. Her work has received recognition from Carve MagazineOn She Goes[Pank], and a deeply wonderful group of friends and family.



Book design by Natalie Eilbert.

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