A Memoir

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"Heart Radical is a richly absorbing, deeply moving book about one woman’s search for identity, enlightenment, and connection. It’s also a tender travel memoir that takes the reader on an unforgettable and intimate journey with the author as she grapples with being a twentysomething American in China—the country from which her mother immigrated. I loved this book. It’s vulnerable, searching, insightful, riveting and beautifully written." - CHERYL STRAYED, author of Wild


At twenty-four, Anne Liu Kellor left her home in Seattle to live in China, the birthplace of her mother. Driven by her desire to become fluent in and to understand her insistent sense of longing, she first traveled through Tibet and then taught English in Sichuan province. Before long, Anne quit her job as she felt pulled towards a world of young, urban artists. Here she fell in love with D., a painter, and lived with him on and off for the next few years. Eventually, however, Anne would betray D., as she continued to drift between lovers and languages, seeking to stay true to her heart.

HEART RADICAL explores the malleable sense of self that is born when one lives within more than one culture, and the desire to embrace one’s contradictions. 

In Heart Radical, language becomes a rich metaphor for our own complicated and changing identities. “To be radical,” Anne Liu Kellor tells us, “is to be rooted in your essential nature.” In this soulful memoir, Kellor looks to the many ways language is a means of communication, yes, but can also be a barrier to a full understanding of ourselves and of each other. In following Kellor’s journey to China and back again, we find ourselves searching for what is most radical—most essential—in our own hearts. - BRENDA MILLER, author of An Earlier Life