Shanghai Mamas Introduces: The Scapegoat by Sara Davis



We are excited to share the debut novel of Shanghai Mama Sara Davis! Sara is a fiction writer and author of the debut novel The Scapegoat, which was published in March 2021 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. We can’t wait to get our hands on a copy of The Scapegoat.


“The Scapegoat is a novel of disquiet and disturbance, with an atmosphere of perfect dread. Think Patricia Highsmith or Jim Thompson, that blend of menace and brilliance. Sara Davis had me shivering. This is the debut novel of a marvelous new talent.”

Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling


If you’re an aspiring writer or want to learn more about the process of publishing a book, get in touch with Sara. Shanghai Mamas also has a couple copies of The Scapegoat for 2 lucky readers. See details at the end of the article to enter, as well as details on how to get in touch with Sara and purchase the novel.



How long have you been in Shanghai?


Sara: Since September of 2019, when my husband, my then-seven-month-old baby and I moved here from California. We are American but my mom is Chinese, so living here has allowed me to reconnect with my second culture. Funnily enough, I had a live-in Shanghainese ayi when I was a child.



How did you first encounter Shanghai Mamas?


Sara: I first connected with Shanghai Mamas via Facebook before my baby was even born! The moms graciously fielded my extremely granular questions about air quality. The first people I met in Shanghai were moms in Janette Seach’s baby massage class, which I learned about through Shanghai Mamas. Unfortunately, my son proved too rambunctious to submit to any kind of massaging but I made two mom friends there that I am still close with today. I feel sorry for anyone who has to move to a city without a Shanghai Mamas!


Tell us about your journey to writing your first novel.


Sara: Writing a book is the only thing that I have ever wanted to do. I’ve always loved reading, fiction in particular. My parents are scientists but also big readers, so books were always very important in my house. I started my novel, The Scapegoat, in 2011. I worked on it slowly but steadily until I finally sent it to literary agents in the fall of 2017. It sold to a publisher the next spring, and didn’t come out until March of this year.



What is your book about?


Sara: The Scapegoat is about an employee at a prestigious American university, a somewhat lonely and eccentric character, who begins to investigate the death of his estranged father. The book also deals with some dark chapters in California’s history, and has a twisty, unreliable narrator type of feel.



Where can we find your book?


Sara: You can find more information courtesy of my publishing house:

And the Kindle version on Amazon at:





The Scapegoat is only available via Kindle in China at present, but a few hardcover copies are available for giveaway through Shanghai Mamas. Please send a message to ShagnhaiMamasOrg and we’ll randomly select 2 winners!


If there are any mamas in the community who are aspiring writers, Sara is happy to meet and chat about your project, offer manuscript consultation, etc. You may contact her directly via WeChat.