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Jennifer Tseng

© Maceo Senna

Jennifer Tseng

Jennifer Tseng’s first book The Man With My Face won the 2005 Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s National Poetry Manuscript Competition and a 2006 PEN American Center Open Book Award. Her second book Red Flower, White Flower, winner of the Marick Press Poetry Prize, features Chinese translations by Mengying Han and Aaron Crippen. Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness is her debut novel. She is the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence at University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

All Jennifer Tseng's books

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December 7
Jennifer Tseng's debut novel MAYUMI AND THE SEA OF HAPPINESS is longlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction.

Latest reviews

  • This debut novel explores a year in the life of Mayumi, a married librarian in her 40s living on an island off the coast of Massachusetts with a young daughter. Her husband sleeps in a different bedroom, although he might as well be sleeping on the mainland; the distance between the couple is vast.
    — Tufts Now, Dec 8 2015
  • Some people would argue that forbidden love stories are the only love stories worth telling. The people who would argue that are probably not the kind of people you should date. Sure, a love story can be compelling if parents or society or circumstances deny the lovers...
    — Seattle Review of Books, Nov 17 2015
  • The public is invited to Falmouth Public Library, 300 Main Street, on Saturday, September 19, at 10 AM for First Fiction, a talk by three debut novelists who all feature the Cape and islands in their novels. Ellen Herrick, author of “The Sparrow Sisters,” Sarah Ann Johnson,...
    — Sep 11 2015
  • Listen to Jennifer's podcast here!
    — Sep 1 2015
  • It’s rare for my attention to linger on the cover of a book I’m about to read, but it certainly did when I picked up Jennifer Tseng’s poetic, richly imagined début novel Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness. The cover features an overhead shot of a pale woman in a fuschia dress...
    — Jul 19 2015
  • A Review of Jennifer Tseng’s Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness Jennifer Tseng’s debut novel Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness is certainly one of the most intriguing reads of this year. It centers on our titular narrator, Mayumi, who is a librarian and lives on an island...
    — Jul 18 2015
  • The Bengali poet Tagore said it best: “Desire takes us so far from home.” This is the desire that infuses a love that cannot go public, that the world will scorn, and to take even the smallest step toward the object of this love (or lust) is to invite the ruin of all one...
    — Jul 8 2015
  • — Jul 7 2015
  • Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness by Jennifer Tseng starts out quietly―"It began at the library," is, after all, the first line―and for a good 60 pages remains that way, as Mayumi, the 41-year-old narrator, recounts meeting a 17-year-old boy who captures some, and eventually...
    — Jul 6 2015
  • I’m typing this on the Peter Pan bus, en route to Logan Airport after a sojourn on Martha’s Vineyard. While there, I read, to a lovely audience at the West Tisbury Library, an excerpt from The Saltwater Twin that chronicles my failed attempt at becoming a cheerleader and...
    — Jul 3 2015
  • I came to the novel Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness via Twitter, which happens more and more these days. I commented on the lovely cover and an on-the-ball PR person offered me a copy to read. I get sent a lot of books, many of them not that interesting, but the premise for this...
    — Jul 2 2015
  • Jennifer Tseng's novel comes from Europa -- the publisher of Elena Ferrante's acclaimed series -- and similarly employs Realism to reveal the wonders of everyday desires and the stifling strictures of a society's norms. A 40-something librarian whiles away her time, enjoying...
    — Jul 2 2015
  • Like The Sunlit Night, Jennifer Tseng’s Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness explores the relationship of an adult and a teenager in an isolated seaside setting — but with a completely different context and result. Mayumi is leading a quiet life as a librarian in Martha’s Vineyard...
    — Jul 1 2015
  • Before Jennifer Tseng began a book reading at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore a few weeks ago, she scanned the audience and cleared her throat. “I’m still searching for the perfect one line sentence to serve to people when they inevitably ask what my book is about,” she said...
    — Jun 25 2015
  • From one island to another, having left the four holidaymakers from elsewhere on Little Lost Island in Brenda Bowen’s Enchanted August, I find a not so little, but lost islander in Mayumi, a 41-year-old librarian and resident of another New England island. With a demanding...
    — Jun 24 2015
  • I have an acute case of Writer Envy. I felt it coming on earlier this month, as I sat in a surprisingly comfortable folding chair at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., to hear author Jennifer Tseng read from her debut novel Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness...
    — Jun 24 2015
  • The West Tisbury librarian, poet, and debut novelist drew a standing-room-only crowd to Bunch of Grapes bookstore in Vineyard Haven Friday night for a reading and discussion of Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness, published last month by Europa Editions. Jennifer Tseng’s first...
    — Jun 10 2015
  • Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness was such a lovely book although when I first read the blurb my reaction was 'yikes!' A 41-year-old married librarian and mother of one, falls for a 17-year-old boy. I almost gave it a pass but it's a Europa Edition so I had to have a closer look.
    — Jun 10 2015
  • If Ferrante’s novels succeed in bringing more attention to the others from her U.S. publisher, Europa Editions, I’ll be delighted. This debut novel by an established poet is one example of why. Tseng’s tale of a love affair between a 41-year-old woman and the son of her...
    — Jun 7 2015
  • Another of our best of 2014 picks that’s recently out in paperback, Everything I Never Told You, brought author Celeste Ng in for a signing. A huge success that ended up being named Amazon’s Best Book of the Year, there’s no sign of things slowing down for this family drama-slash-mystery...
    — Jun 3 2015

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