Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.

Deeply moving family and friend moments comprise Cai’s debut novel

‘Central places’

‘Central places’ by Delia Cai, Ballentine Books, 2023, 277 pages, $28.

“Central Places,” the debut novel from Delia Cai, is bound to make everyone reading it wonder how its author knows them so well.

For the past eight years, 27-year-old Audrey Zhou thinks she’s been happy with her decision to quickly move away from her life in Hickory Grove, the small town in central Illinois her parents settled in. Immigrants from China, her parents have always chased the American Dream. They even named their daughter for Audrey Hepburn, the actress who first enraptured them in “Roman Holiday,” a film that, in its own way, is a genuine American fairy tale.