I don't often read short story collections, but I'm so glad I read Land of Big Numbers. Chen's book is full of compelling characters and biting social commentary. While some stories stood out for me more than others, there wasn't a single one that I didn't at least like. I was pulled into each story quickly and despite their short nature, was still able to connect with most of the characters.
While Land of Big Numbers centers around Chinese culture and history, Chen touches on topics like belonging and human connection in a way that resonate with the human experience as a whole. That being said, I loved the way Chen explored the broad picture of both Chinese citizens and Chinese immigrants.
The mix of more realistic stories and ones that felt more like parables was excellent and helped to really make each story feel unique. Without spoiling, I will say I particularly liked "Gubeikuo Spirit" and the powerful message within.