by Jamie Ford
Fascinating book! So gripping and immersive. It’s a mix of historical and speculative fiction. It makes you feel like a time traveler, as it explores the trauma passed through six generations of the female descendants who are the daughters of Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to come to America in 1834, all the way through to 2045. It is done in a non-linear format, jumping back and forth between the characters in space and time. But you start to parse out themes, patterns, and trends, so that you can understand how they are all linked together.
I think one reason I love this book is there is so much non-fiction beneath the fiction. It eplores deep, complex, fascinating topics, including among others: transgenerational trauma and epigenetic inheritance, ARkstorms/climate change, the bubonic plague outbreak that happened in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 1800s, Buddhism, poetry, and technology advancements.
It also covers misogyny in general, and against Asian, and Asian-American woman in particular. You can tell the author did an amazing amount of research and wove it into the story beautifully.