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Inheritanceby Lan Samantha Chang
Synopses & Reviews
IN 1931, abandoned after their mother's suicide, the young Junan and her sister, Yinan, make a pact never to leave each other. The two girls are inseparable--until Junan enters into an arranged marriage and makes the mistake of falling in love with her soldier husband. When the Japanese invade China, Junan and her husband are separated. Unable to follow him to the wartime capital, Junan makes the fateful decision to send her sister after him. Set in China and America, against the backdrop of political chaos and social upheaval, the story is narrated by junan's daughter, Hong, its witness, who is haunted by its influence on her own life. "Inheritance traces the echo of betrayal through generations and explores the elusive nature of trust. "Hunger, "a work of gorgeous and enduring prose" "(Washington Post), introduced a writer of considerable talent and promise. "Inheritance, elegant and historically rich, shows this storyteller's remarkable range.
"A complicated sister bond echoes through generations in this somber follow-up to Chang's well-received debut novella and stories, Hunger. In China in the early 1930s, sisters Junan and Yinan are inseparable, even as Junan matures into beauty and Yinan remains awkward and plain. Junan enters into an arranged marriage and falls in love with Li Ang, her soldier husband. Separated from him when the Japanese invade China, Junan sends the unmarried Yinan to keep her husband's household. What is intended as an arrangement of convenience turns to betrayal when Li Ang and Yinan have an affair. As China is divided by communism, the family is also rent in two. Junan and her daughters Hong (who is also the narrator) and Hwa end up in the States, while Yinan and Li Ang remain in mainland China with their son and are effectively banished from memory. It is memory — rather than dramatic action — at which Chang excels; her prose is lovely, but even images of the turmoil of war and displacement read at somewhat of a remove. Still, the sense of long family histories both spoken and unspoken is powerful, and the restrained conclusion has the force of Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day. Chang's sophomore effort may not chart new ground, but is still a solid effort. Agent, Jin Auh. 4-city author tour. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In 1931 China, two young sisters, abandoned after their mother's suicide, promise never to leave each other. Set against the backdrop of political chaos and social upheaval, the story traces the echo of betrayal through generations and explores the elusive nature of trust.
About the Author
Lan Samantha Chang, winner of a California Book Award and an Alfred Hodder Fellowship, teaches creative writing at Harvard University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the author of Hunger.
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