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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Journey To The Heartland is a work of fiction in the slice of life and LGBTQ+ subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Xiaolong Huang. Based on real events, the novel takes us on the varied journey of young Hanwei, who finds himself born into the difficult situation of being the son of a gay man in China in the 1980s. As Hanwei experiences the traumatic way he and his father are treated, he begins his own journey toward self-discovery. In later years, his journey takes him to the United States, but the life of a gay immigrant holds its own difficulties, even in California where life is advertised as all sunshine and freedom.
As someone who adores queer fiction and cross-cultural tales, I found this novel had an ideal blend of real-world issues and fictional touches to make it highly engaging and accessible for all readers. It’s clear that author Xiaolong Huang takes true events to heart, and the dialogue and intense narrative quality of the work is a testament to how deeply and emotionally connected the author is to the tale he’s telling. Hanwei is a beautifully drawn character with realistic motivations and his highs and lows speak volumes to the experience of culturally displaced LGBTQ+ people everywhere, but there were also some really fantastic and uplifting moments of joy that drive the drama forward with hope for greater social change in the future. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend Journey To The Heartland as an excellent and inspiring read.