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1 Local Warehouse MEMOIR- WELLNESS

This title in other editions

The Foremost Good Fortune

by

The Foremost Good Fortune Cover

ISBN13: 9780307594068
ISBN10: 0307594068
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Susan Conley, her husband, and their two young sons say good-bye to their friends, family, and house in Maine for a two-year stint in a high-rise apartment in Beijing, prepared to embrace the inevitable onslaught of new experiences that such a move entails. But Susan can't predict just how much their lives will change.

While her husband is consumed with his job, Susan works on finishing her novel and confronting the challenges of day-to-day life in an utterly foreign country: determining the proper way to buy apples at a Chinese mega-market; bribing her little boys to ride the school bus; fielding invitations to mysterious sweater parties and tracking down the faux-purse empire of the infamous Bag Lady; and getting stuck in an elevator, unable to call for help in Mandarin.

Despite the distractions, there are many occasions for joy. From road trips to the Great Wall and bartering for a starter Buddha at the raucous flea market to lighting fireworks in the streets for the Chinese New Year and feasting on the world's best dumplings in back-alley restaurants, they gradually turn their unfamiliar environs into a true home.

Then Susan learns she has cancer. After undergoing treatment in Boston, she returns to Beijing, again as a foreigner — but this time, it's her own body in which she feels a stranger. Set against the eternally fascinating backdrop of modern China and full of insight into the trickiest questions of motherhood — How do you talk to children about death? When is it okay to lie? — this wry and poignant memoir is a celebration of family and a candid exploration of mortality and belonging.

Review:

"'China sat in the rooms of our house like a question,' begins Conley in this luminous memoir of moving her family from Portland, Maine, to Beijing on the eve of the 2008 Olympics. Conley's husband had accepted a dream job in Beijing, and they had decided to say 'yes to all the unknowns that will now rain down on us' including common difficulties faced by many families moving to a new city: a new school for her two young sons, finding new friends, and adjusting to a new apartment all compounded by the intensity of learning a difficult new language and adapting to a new culture. Conley's writing is at once spare and strong, and her description of having to present an unflappable front to her children while being hit 'with a rolling wave of homesickness' pulls the reader into her world like a close friend. As Conley starts to hit her stride in her adopted city, she discovers lumps in her breast and finds herself on a different kind of journey, which she describes as 'an essential aloneness that cancer has woven into my days.' She explains in this engaging memoir that after her treatment in the U.S. was over, she returned to Beijing, where she searched for the perfect Chinese talisman to 'ward off the leftover cancer juju' and hoping to help her boys move past their own fears of their mother's mortality. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"An American mother recounts her struggle to adjust to a new life in Beijing — and then face another challenge, this one medical." O, The Oprah Magazine

Review:

"Compelling and humorous...Beautifully written and insightful on many levels." Booklist

Review:

“Fresh and engaging . . . [Conley’s] running account of the profound strangeness of both expat existence and contemporary China is fascinating.” The Boston Globe

Review:

“Conley’s lovely memoir powerfully reminds us that we draw our strength from the many little wonders of our everyday lives.” BookPage

Video

About the Author

Susan Conley is a cofounder and former executive director of the Telling Room, a nonprofit writing center in Portland, Maine. Her work has been published in numerous magazines, including the New York Times Magazine, the Paris Review, Harvard Review, and Ploughshares. She lives in Portland with her husband and two sons.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 9 comments:

longstrethkatherine, February 7, 2011 (view all comments by longstrethkatherine)
Susan Conley's memoir, The Foremost Good Fortune, is by turns poignant, informative, and funny. As Susan charts her way to an entirely new land she vividly captures China in all its bewildwering juxtapositions. The honesty and intimacy of her writing makes it feel like you are taken by the hand on this compelling, difficult and inspiring journey. By the end I felt a profound kinship with her as a woman, mother and wife.
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Caitlin Shetterly author of Made for You and Me Going West Going Broke Finding Home , February 2, 2011 (view all comments by Caitlin Shetterly author of Made for You and Me Going West Going Broke Finding Home )
Susan Conley's gripping memoir, The Foremost Good Fortune, about her relocation to China and her battle with cancer--two equally foreign countries she must navigate--has a clarity of voice that is never maudlin. Conley gives us--at a time when we are all curious--both an insider's and an outsider's view of China. I read The Foremost Good Fortune in a white heat--I could not put it down and missed it as I'd miss a friend who had, say, gone to China, when I closed the last page.

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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
OverseasMom, February 1, 2011 (view all comments by OverseasMom)
I read this memoir in one sitting. As someone who moved with my husband and young children to Asia, I was hooked immediately. Susan Conley nails the incidental moments – the minutiae - that define a family’s transition to a new culture. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has experienced or is anticipating an overseas move with children. However, this aspect of Susan’s story only scratches the surface of what makes this book a gem. It is funny at times, poignant at others. If you have grappled with parenting decisions, wondered about the realities of day to day life in China, faced an illness of any kind, or supported someone you love through one, you will find this book enlightening and unequivocally life affirming.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307594068
Author:
Conley, Susan
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20110231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.54 x 6.6 x 1.16 in 1.18 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Medical
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Biographies
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Memoirs

The Foremost Good Fortune Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$17.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Knopf - English 9780307594068 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'China sat in the rooms of our house like a question,' begins Conley in this luminous memoir of moving her family from Portland, Maine, to Beijing on the eve of the 2008 Olympics. Conley's husband had accepted a dream job in Beijing, and they had decided to say 'yes to all the unknowns that will now rain down on us' including common difficulties faced by many families moving to a new city: a new school for her two young sons, finding new friends, and adjusting to a new apartment all compounded by the intensity of learning a difficult new language and adapting to a new culture. Conley's writing is at once spare and strong, and her description of having to present an unflappable front to her children while being hit 'with a rolling wave of homesickness' pulls the reader into her world like a close friend. As Conley starts to hit her stride in her adopted city, she discovers lumps in her breast and finds herself on a different kind of journey, which she describes as 'an essential aloneness that cancer has woven into my days.' She explains in this engaging memoir that after her treatment in the U.S. was over, she returned to Beijing, where she searched for the perfect Chinese talisman to 'ward off the leftover cancer juju' and hoping to help her boys move past their own fears of their mother's mortality. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "An American mother recounts her struggle to adjust to a new life in Beijing — and then face another challenge, this one medical."
"Review" by , "Compelling and humorous...Beautifully written and insightful on many levels."
"Review" by , “Fresh and engaging . . . [Conley’s] running account of the profound strangeness of both expat existence and contemporary China is fascinating.”
"Review" by , “Conley’s lovely memoir powerfully reminds us that we draw our strength from the many little wonders of our everyday lives.”
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