Friday, June 1, 2012

Book Review: The Distant Land of My Father

The Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell

Anna's father was born and raised in Shanghai by missionary parents. He marries, has a daughter, and insists on staying in Shanghai even after the Japanese invade while his wife and daughter move to California and await his arrival. Anna shares this story with the help of her father's journals and her own personal memories. We learner of multiple imprisonments, business ventures, and family betrayal. It is a moving story of family and of the world events of that time.

I have to admit I've always been a sucker for stories that include China's history (or history at all). I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because China is so different from what I know now and what I've learned of my own country's history. I once read this 874 page biography on Mao... and even took it camping with me. Regardless, I found this book well written and engaging. I was drawn in, and didn't want to put the book down. There were a couple times I was glad I wasn't reading it on the bus because I cried, emotionally moved by the losses, and the regrets.

This book was one of the Amazon deals of the day I purchased. The last few deals I read weren't the greatest books so I am relieved to know that not all of them are misses. I was also surprised and impressed to discover that this was the author's first novel. Go read this. Grade: A

Books read since the beginning of 2012: 16

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