The Year She Left Us: A Novel

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It may not be something you’ve thought a lot about but how does a Lost Daughter of China feel? Obviously, there is a vast variety of possibilities and it can change from moment to moment but what? Lucky? Chosen? How about abandoned? That’s what Ari Kong feels, a great deal of the time. Her adoptive mother, Charlie, is single, a Chinese-American lawyer in San Francisco. As an infant, Ari was left at the Friendly Nation Department Store Number One in Kumming. She yearns for her birth parents and particularly for a father.

Charlie has no man in her life but she does have her formidable mother, Betty, and her sister Lesley, the judge. All of these women are devoted to Ari, doing their best to provide her with family while teaching her, by example, about keeping secrets. Ma does a stunning job of depicting this world full of evasion and half-truths. She is lavish with detail, particularly when describing the complex lives of adopted Chinese girls, the onset of an Alaskan winter or the perilous, nearly fatal journey Betty Kong makes, to sweep the graves of her ancestors. The Kong women are remarkably depicted in all of their endurance and obdurate love for their wandering child. This novel provides a wide window on an intricate world, complex and history-ridden. I highly recommend it.


Reviewed By:

Author Kathryn Ma
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 336 pages
Publisher Harper
Publish Date 2014-May-13
ISBN 9780062273345
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2014
Category Modern Literature
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