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Little Seed

Little Seed

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By Wei Tchou

Publication Date: May 14th, 2024

"Little Seed is what I want the future of literature to be." —Sam Cohen, author of Sarahland

Paperback ISBN: 9781646053360
eBook ISBN: 9781646053407


Little Seed is an experimental memoir that braids together the narrative of the author's relationship with her brother and family with a deeply personal field guide to ferns.

The chapters move associatively, commenting on each other indirectly and drawing out questions of assimilation, race, class, gender, nature and the general problem of being and knowing. When the author's brother has a psychotic break, the rigid structure of the book itself breaks apart and the protagonist adventures to the cloud forest of Oaxaca in order to truly live: to know the world by experiencing it rather than reading about it or following the direction of others. Some persistent themes throughout the book: What does it mean to be Chinese? What is love and how best to love? What really is a fern?

Biographical Note

Wei Tchou's essays and reporting can be found in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and The Oxford American, among other publications. She likes to write about food, nature, and the complications of identity. She is the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship and has an MFA from Hunter College. She lives in New York City, where she is tending a lemon tree.


"A gorgeous, inventive meditation on the passage of time, memory and forgetting, and the ties that bind." —Hua Hsu, author of Stay True

"Wei Tchou has written a book that sneaks its way into your subconscious, nudging connections that you did not know existed and presenting them in sentences that demand your care and full attention. There is strange energy on each page, but never in a self-conscious or show-off way (although I would be showing off some of these sentences if I had written them), but more of a spell that you know has been cast that you don't want to end." —Jay Caspian Kang, author of The Loneliest Americans

"Little Seed will plant itself in your mind and grow into a revelation; its disparate parts perfectly inseparable. Wei Tchou has written a gorgeous, gripping read. I picked it up and couldn’t put it down." —Juli Berwald, author of Life on the Rocks

"This book cracks open the world and roots out what is invisible, what cannot be classified or named. Traversing fairy tale, science history, and family lore, Tchou exposes the danger inherent to all stories, including the ones we tell ourselves. Little Seed is shaped like a fern, spiraling back to multiple origin points, unfurling, traveling like magic gold dust to unmake language and grow something realer and freer in its place. I think I am part fern after reading this gorgeous, lyrical book. Little Seed is what I want the future of literature to be." —Sam Cohen, author of Sarahland

"In her alert and disarming Little Seed, Wei Tchou plunges us into a piercing story of immigration, family, and the search for belonging. Intertwined with this story is a devout fascination with ferns. By looking at ferns closely and with great humility and humor, Tchou uncovers larger, wilder truths about identity and connection. A suspenseful and profound heart-stopper." —John D’Agata, author of The Lifespan of a Fact