From the acclaimed Chinese-American author, a story of two sisters and the deadly rivalry that comes to separate them. Beginning in 1925, it tells the story not only of one family, but of China across the turbulent years of the 20th century, through war, revolution, occupation and exile. When their mother dies, Junan and her little sister Yinan ...Read MoreFrom the acclaimed Chinese-American author, a story of two sisters and the deadly rivalry that comes to separate them. Beginning in 1925, it tells the story not only of one family, but of China across the turbulent years of the 20th century, through war, revolution, occupation and exile. When their mother dies, Junan and her little sister Yinan make a pact to stay together forever. They grow up in Hangzhou, in their wealthy father's house, Junan becoming every year more beautiful, Yinan shyer and more withdrawn. One night, some men come to the house to play paigao, among them a young soldier called Li Ang. When the girls' father loses once more at the tiles, he pays his gambling debt with the hand of his older daughter. So the beautiful Junan becomes the bride of the ambitious and handsome Li Ang. Junan, exquisite and cold, makes the mistake she had always feared making, the mistake that disgraced her mother and led to her early death. Quite simply, she falls in love with her husband. When the Japanese invade, Li Ang is sent to protect the wartime capital. Unable to join him herself and tormented by love and jealousy, Junan makes her second mistake.She sends to him the one woman she can trust, her quiet and dreamy younger sister Yinan. As delicately nuanced and coloured as a painting, Lan Samantha Chang's first novel tells a classic story of desire and love.Read Less
New; Pictorial paperback; clean pages; tight binding. 9780393327113. "...foreign in its historical sweep and social detail but universal in its emotional truth." Boston Globe; 8.30 X 5.30 X 1 inches; 320 pages.
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-07-05 A complicated sister bond echoes through generations in this somber follow-up to Chang's well-received debut novella and stories, Hunger. In China in the early 1930s, sisters Junan and Yinan are inseparable, even as Junan matures into beauty and Yinan remains awkward and plain. Junan enters into an arranged marriage and falls in love with Li Ang, her soldier husband. Separated from him when the Japanese invade China, Junan sends the unmarried Yinan to keep her husband's household. What is intended as an arrangement of convenience turns to betrayal when Li Ang and Yinan have an affair. As China is divided by communism, the family is also rent in two. Junan and her daughters Hong (who is also the narrator) and Hwa end up in the States, while Yinan and Li Ang remain in mainland China with their son and are effectively banished from memory. It is memory-rather than dramatic action-at which Chang excels; her prose is lovely, but even images of the turmoil of war and displacement read at somewhat of a remove. Still, the sense of long family histories both spoken and unspoken is powerful, and the restrained conclusion has the force of Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day. Chang's sophomore effort may not chart new ground, but is still a solid effort. Agent, Jin Auh. 4-city author tour. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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