On August 23, 1957 nineteen-year-old Joy, is a confused and upset Chinese girl. Everything she thought she knew about her birth has been a lie! The woman she thought was her mother was her aunt. Her aunt is actually her mother, and the man she loved as her father turns out not to have been her father at all and now he's dead. Her "biological" father is an artisit from Shanghai whom both her mother and aunt have loved since before Joy was born. His name is Li Zhi-ge or Z.G. Li Zhi used to paint Joy's mother and her aunt when they were models back in Shanghai.
At 2 o'clock in the morning, Joy decides to leave their Los Angeles, California home and go to China. She packs a bag, writes her mother a note and quietly slips out the door. She walks to the nearest pay phone and calls her boyfriend Joe. She tells him to get up, get dressed, and get on a plane and meet her in San Francisco - they're going to China! Joe however, thought this was a bad idea and refused to go with her. Undeterred, Joy is going to find her biological father even if: "...he lives in a country of 600 million!"
Joy is dazzled by Z.G. but is totally blind by idealism and defiance and throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the Communist regime.
Distraught by Joy's leaving and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challanges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation.
A beautiful story of a family challenged by tragedy and time, but ultimately united by the resilience of love. Lisa See has a remarkable ability for writing and I've read every book she has written and with each one she just keeps outdoing herself. This is one you won't want to miss.
June 24, 2011