Article Club
Article Club
Happy New Year! Let’s discuss “Motherland,” by Jiayang Fan

Happy New Year! Let’s discuss “Motherland,” by Jiayang Fan


Welcome to 2021! Hope your new year has begun well. After a month-long break, I’m excited to announce that this month’s article is “Motherland,” by Jiayang Fan. It is a powerful piece worthy of our deep reading, reflection, and conversation.

Published in The New Yorker in September, the article explores the relationship between Ms. Fan and her mother, who lives with ALS in a long-term acute-care facility in Harlem, with the support of two around-the-clock aides. When COVID-19 hits and New York closes down in early April, the aides are told they must leave the nursing home immediately, which prompts Ms. Fan, in an act of desperation, to seek help on Twitter. In trying to save her mother’s life, Ms. Fan faces an intense backlash from Chinese nationalists, calling her mother’s fate an appropriate comeuppance for Ms. Fan’s traitorous reporting of the Chinese government.

“Motherland” was voted best article of 2020 by Longform. It’s gripping, personal, and beautifully written. I hope you’ll join fellow Article Clubbers in discussing it.

Ms. Fan is a staff writer at The New Yorker and reports on a range of topics, including China, American politics, and culture. She has covered the democracy movement in Hong Kong, elite high schools in New York, and the film, “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Are you IN? If so, here’s what to do:

  1. Leave a comment. Say hi, announce that you’re IN, and share with other Article Clubbers what drew you to join this month’s discussion.

  2. Sign up for the discussion on Sunday, January 24, 2-3:15 pm PT (via Zoom).

  3. Read and annotate the article. (Here’s the original if you prefer it.)

Leave a comment

Coming up this month at Article Club
  • Monday 1/11: We’ll listen to Ms. Fan talk about her article.

  • Monday 1/18: We’ll share questions and topics we want to explore.

  • Sunday 1/24: We’ll discuss the article with fellow Article Clubbers.

Questions? Share them in the comments or email me at

Article Club is an experiment in community reading in its second year. We read, annotate, and discuss one outstanding article or book chapter a month. We invite the author to join our conversation, too. If you’re interested, sign up and check us out! Article Club is part of The Highlighter, a weekly newsletter featuring the best articles on race, education, and culture.

Article Club
Article Club
Book clubs are stressful. Join Article Club, a community of kind readers. We discuss one great article every month on race, education, or culture.