From Glenn Gould to Jeff Wall to an aspiring Miss Hong Kong, Doretta Lau has an imagination larger than the entire country of Canada, which is big. If you want to know how we live today, read this book!
— Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure and Super Sad True Love Story

Short story collection, published by Nightwood Editions, 2014.
Canadian Kindle Edition
US Kindle Edition
UK Kindle Edition
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository (Worldwide)
Paddyfield (Hong Kong)

Building on the success of the Journey Prize-shortlisted title story, the stories of How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? present an updated and whimsical new take on what it means to be Canadian. Lau alludes to the personal and political histories of a number of young Asian Canadian characters to explain their unique perspectives of the world, artfully fusing pure delusion and abstract perception with heartbreaking reality. Correspondingly, the book’s title refers to an interview with Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, who when asked about the Shanghai Sharks, the team that shaped his formative sporting years, responded, “How does a single blade of grass thank the sun?” Lau’s stories feature the children and grandchildren of immigrants, transnational adoptees and multiracial adults who came of age in the 1990s—all struggling to find a place in the Western world and using the only language they know to express their hopes, fears and expectations.

Doretta Lau may just be the one to usher in a new era of Can Lit. She finds an unforgettable beauty and strangeness in the lives of young gangsters, starlets, artists and runaways, and in doing so, offers an unforgettable portrait of our times. Every story in this groundbreaking collection is wildly inventive and fiercely intelligent, full of mystery and mischief.
— Rebecca Godfrey, author of The Torn Skirt and Under the Bridge
What a completely fabulous debut from Doretta Lau, whose stories have the lush compression of poetry and volleys of dialogue that will make you cackle loudly on street corners. Doretta is what Marianne Moore called a true “literalist of the imagination”—no matter how wild her conceits, her characters’ joys and terrors feel absolutely true. This collection is a happy haunting.
— Karen Russell, author of Vampires in the Lemon Grove and Swamplandia!
Doretta Lau’s book has everything you could ask for in a story collection. It has pathos and laughs, well-wrought realism and formal novelty, autobiography and flights of fancy, Glenn Gould and Wong Kar-Wai. It’s a collection of stories full of scalpel-sharp moments of clarity and dizzying reversals peopled by standoffish, endearing, and self-aware young characters.
— Kevin Chong, author of Baroque-a-nova and Beauty Plus Pity
Doretta Lau’s energetic and hilarious debut is a clever collage of race, rebellion, hot dogs and the art of Jeff Wall. In her world, a man accidentally auditions for a porno, and a young woman goes on a date with a dead man, who just happens to be Glenn Gould. It’s a world we should all live in — lively, unpredictably fun, and affably neurotic.
— Annie Choi, author of Shut Up, You're Welcome and Happy Birthday or Whatever