A lyrical, moving novel of the choices and confusions that face a married woman whose understanding of herself explodes on first contact with the energies of China and a Chinaman. Grace Hoffmeier is never quite sure where to invest her energies: in her dying marriage to star scientist Walter or in the possible affairs that flare so startlingly ...Read MoreA lyrical, moving novel of the choices and confusions that face a married woman whose understanding of herself explodes on first contact with the energies of China and a Chinaman. Grace Hoffmeier is never quite sure where to invest her energies: in her dying marriage to star scientist Walter or in the possible affairs that flare so startlingly before her like fireworks; in her work or in her home; in things or in people; in the past or in the future. On an eye-opening trip to a China that has ripped itself apart, yet again, at its very heart in Tiananmen Square, Grace finds -- with guidance from unexpected quarters -- that what you can choose between is not always your choice to make. The real China soon crackles into being before Grace, and its fire and light illuminate for her paths old and new, and a new life in a new kingdom.Read Less
New. For Grace, the ardent yet puzzled heroine of Andrea Barrett's third novel, this trip has been planned as a three-week stay: she's to play dutiful wife to Walter, her prominent scientist husband, at the 1986 Beijing International Conferenc.
Publishers Weekly, 1992-02-10 An overweight, complacent American woman on a 1986 visit to Beijing becomes fascinated with China and energetically embraces a new life in this affecting tale. (Mar.)
Publishers Weekly, 1991-01-18 The Beijing of 1986 serves as the backdrop for this affecting novel about an American woman's self-discovery. At 30, Grace has succumbed to a type of emotional paralysis. Buried in fat, unwilling to face the past and incapable of imagining her own future, she chalks up a string of failures: abandoned schools and careers, one divorce and a precarious marriage to Walter, a scientist. Accompanying Walter to a conference in Beijing, Grace is jolted out of her complacency as she is befriended by a Chinese woman, a doctor. A severe bout of pneumonia lands her in the hospital, attended by her new friend, and in her feverish state she relives the sorry episodes that have temporarily defeated her. Her illness, paradoxically, cures her, and she finds the courage to embrace an entirely new life. Barrett ( Lucid Stars ) here recreates not China itself but, more reasonably, her heroine's fascination with it, and she manages to infuse her characters, Grace especially, with a psychic energy and charm that belie their saddened states. Literary Guild alternate. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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