Another free book I received from the Early Reviewers Group at Library Thing!! And boy, did they get this match right, because.....
This is one of the best books I've read this year. As Francie Lin's first book, you can't help but wonder what she'll do as a follow up! It's absolutely brilliant, well-written and fast paced. Even with my hopelessly busy schedule, I simply couldn't put it down (it helped that our Internet service was out for a day!).
One of the things I've realized lately is how much I love a book written in the first person. I love being told a story from the character's point of view, feeling almost as if I am the character as I'm living their story with them. And I'm amazed in this book (as I was amazed conversely at how great Arthur Golden wrote as a woman in Memoirs of a Geisha) at how Francie Lin writes from a man's perspective - a man's voice - so well. You'd think she was a man -- but the picture on the back cover says it's not so!
Anyway, It's the story of Emerson Chang, a forty year old financial analyst in San Francisco. When his mother dies, he goes to Taiwan in search of his long lost brother. This begins a dramatic, suspenseful and beautiful journey with all kinds of twists and turns. Just trust me, you'll love it. It's going to be on my short list for the best book of the year. Here's an example of some of Francie Lin's gorgeous way with words:
It was the hour of the night when cities show themselves. Traffic lights blinked, off-line; street dogs wandered in the alleys, carrying away trash and scraps, shitting in the gutters. The pavements gave off steam like a long, collective breath, and the smell of open drains hung in the air. In my mother's stories about the old country, Taipei had been a land with a single train going to and from school, a church and a priest, fresh sugarcane, candy stores, earthquakes, curfew. One more death, I thought vaguely, sleepy -- death of a memory, of an image.