A really nice story about survival and having to relocate and adapt. The differences in generations and personalities are very well captured. Even though I was a little confused at times by the number of characters, it was a very interesting and complex story.
The large Vietnamese presence in Seattle can seem mysterious to outsiders. This novel offers some enlightenment. The first 20 pages come off as a fluffy story of a spoiled California Vietnamese-American girl, but then it turns into an intense and at times breathtaking depiction of family relationships in a traditional society, displayed against the changing backgrounds of different generations, countries, during war and peace. There is a mystery to unwind here, and because the story unfolds by jumping to different time periods in the lives of the interconnected families--with characters’ names that can be difficult for a Westerner to sort out-- this book can require some work on the part of the reader. I for one found it paid off. There are scenes between husbands and wives, particularly the paternal grandparents, worthy of Tolstoy. All in all, a winner.
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