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The Interior (Red Princess #2)

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,122 Ratings  ·  206 Reviews
In our world, two years have passed since the publication of Flower Net, Lisa See's debut in thriller fiction, but as The Interior begins, only a few months have passed since Liu Hulan, a detective in Communist China's Ministry of Public Security, and U.S. Attorney David Stark first teamed up to catch a murderer--and rekindled their old love affair. Now, as David struggles ...more
Paperback, 431 pages
Published 2000 by Arrow Books (first published 1999)
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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa SeeThe Good Earth by Pearl S. BuckThe Joy Luck Club by Amy TanShanghai Girls by Lisa SeeThe Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
Best Novels That Take Place in China
115th out of 314 books — 838 voters
Red Mandarin Dress by Qiu XiaolongThe Skull Mantra by Eliot PattisonDragon Bones by Lisa SeeDeath of a Red Heroine by Qiu XiaolongFlower Net by Lisa See
Asian Mystery
54th out of 160 books — 47 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 18, 2012 Mark rated it liked it
Shelves: recentlyread
I have a theory that Lisa See packed all she wanted to say about modern China into her three detective novels about Inspector Liu Hulan, the "red princess" of the series title, then went back to the historical romances she prefers. And her detective writing was improving; the third one, Dragon Bones, is quite a bit better than this second one. She tells a good story, though she doesn't always tell it well. She is strongest when in the throes of a dialogue on legal niceties or political issues, w ...more
Graham Crawford
Oct 22, 2013 Graham Crawford rated it liked it
Lisa See is a pedestrian writer who has a lot of interesting things to say about late 20th Century China and social justice issues. For the most part I can forgive her lack of ability because 2/3 of this book is packed with well researched information - village life in the interior, factory exploitation, & surviving the Cultural Revolution. It's pretty obvious she wants to use the Crime novel genre to bring this world to a wider audience (and higher sales!). I just wish she could write ficti ...more
Sep 12, 2008 Rachel rated it it was ok
This is a classic "wish I could give half a star" book; 2.5 stars is what I want to give. See's work is an interesting combo -- fairly lousy dialogue and clunky exposition paired with good-enough plotting and a truly fascinating inside look at contemporary Chinese society. I loved reading the details of how people eat, travel, relate to each other so I just gritted my teeth through the awkward points (myriad).
Sep 11, 2012 Agatha rated it liked it
A second mystery by the author of Snow Flower & the Secret Fan, Peony In Love, Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy, as well as my , Flower Net. In fact, this can be said to be the second in a series behind Flower Net, b/c it has the same main characters, Hulan (a Chinese investigator) and David (a US attorney). This time, Hulan, still in China, is expecting David’s baby and David, back in the States, is eager for a job opportunity that would bring him back to China. When his former boss and law ...more
Nov 22, 2013 Beth rated it really liked it
David Stark, an attorney, is asked to open a law office in Beijing, China. Liu Hulan, David's lover, is asked by an old friend to investigate the death of her daughter. The daughter worked at an American owned toy factory that is about to be sold to David's client Tartan Enterprises. Hulan goes undercover at the toy factory. There she is forced to face her past, which she has long been avoiding. Hulan finds more questions than answers, all leading to David's client. The two lovers find themselve ...more
Oct 18, 2014 Kathy rated it really liked it
Loved it!!! See other reviews on the Liu Hulan series. Excellent story line!
Susan Jones
Feb 15, 2016 Susan Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Editorial Reviews Review
In our world, two years have passed since the publication of Flower Net, Lisa See's debut in thriller fiction, but as The Interior begins, only a few months have passed since Liu Hulan, a detective in Communist China's Ministry of Public Security, and U.S. Attorney David Stark first teamed up to catch a murderer--and rekindled their old love affair. Now, as David struggles to find a way to get back to China--or convince Hulan to move to America--Hulan goes to th
Jul 30, 2015 Jim rated it it was ok
Shelves: chinese-fiction
Having read "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" several years ago, I was really looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed. The plot line drags and is very confusing at times. There is a lot of background information about Chinese life in the 21st century in both Beijing and the "Interior," where this book takes place - Shanxi Province to be specific. I found the information about American and Western firms setting up factories in the hinterlands of China inter ...more
Lauri Saplad
Jan 25, 2016 Lauri Saplad rated it really liked it
Lisa See is wonderful, as always, with a well-researched and structured story. This one really gets to the heartland of China, exploring not only the culture and politics, but really seeing what life is like for the peasants & working class. It makes you explore your own Western morals and ideals at the same time. China is vast and will probably always seem mysterious and a little strange to us. The Interior gives us a glance into life there.
May 06, 2014 Dyana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book, but the characters spent too much time speculating on the who, what, where, when, and why of the cases they were investigating. I wish they had spent more time on their relationships! This is the 2nd in the Red Princess series with Lawyer David Stark (U.S. Attorney's office) and Chinese investigator Liu Hulan (Ministry of Public Security). Hulan receives an urgent letter from an old friend, Suchee, of her Cultural Revolution days. It seems Suchee's daughter, Miaoshan has commi ...more
Mar 20, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it
This is the second of the Red Princess books and I found it even more engaging than the first one. Most of this takes place in China, though there are many connections with the US, notably involving a US toy company with a large factory in an isolated part of rural China. There are several murders, not all connected, though at first they seem to be; David and Hulan at times are on opposite sides, due to his having gone back to the practice of law and having the toy company as a client. Her life ...more
Jan 11, 2012 Gina rated it it was ok
I found this book to be so incredibly boring. I liked Shanghai Girls so much and I kept thinking that The Interior HAD to get better. It didn't. Even the faster paced chapters where everything was coming to a resolution were boring. This makes me hesitant to read anything else from See other than Finding Joy (the sequel to SG). Disappointing!
Linda Anderson
Mar 30, 2016 Linda Anderson rated it really liked it
I definitely enjoyed this novel by Lisa See. Unfortunately I hadn't read the first book of the "Red Princess series-Flower Net", but decided to go ahead and read "The Interior" anyway.
I did find it a challenge to keep some of the Chinese names straight, but generally context straightened that out. I found initially the pace was so slow I was ready to put the book aside, but it story did get more interesting (thank goodness). Towards the end I got impatient with all the rehashing amongst the mai
Jan 05, 2014 Jacqueline rated it it was amazing

I am amazed by the versatility of Lisa See. It seems like all she has to do is touch pen to paper and she begins to unravel a magnificent story.
(Obviously she spends a lot of time doing research to be able to write with such clarity and understanding of her characters and the places they inhabit.)
It doesn't matter if she is writing the story of her own family in On Gold Mountain, or the three books, that make up The Red Princess Trilogy, Flower Net, The Interior and Dragon Bones, or the histori
Sep 17, 2013 Annalie rated it really liked it
A thrilling page-turner of a murder mystery with the added bonus of Chinese and American cultural clashes, with interesting insights into Chinese politics.
Mar 09, 2014 Susan rated it liked it
I so enjoyed Lisa See's novels "Peony In Love" and "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" I could not help but pick this book up from a used bookstore, not knowing it was a second in a series. The story stood alone, though I did wonder throughout what had happened to David and Hulan in the previous story.

The novel gives a glimpse of Chinese traditions in the modern-day world, and brings to light the poverty, illiteracy, corruption and class consciousness still prevalent in today's China, woven into a
Oct 11, 2014 Judy rated it it was amazing
The Red Princess Mystery series is one that is spellbinding. This book, as the other one, was written so brilliantly that it's easy to read and you're learning about the history of China all at the same time. The wonders of how things were over in China. The way things were here in the U.S. at the same time.

Lisa creates the most interesting characters. The two main characters (one from the U.S. and one from China) are both brilliant and well respected individuals. Together, they make one amazing
Feb 19, 2011 Grace rated it really liked it
When David Stark is offered a job in a private firm that would allow him to be reunited with Liu Hulan, his lover, in China he takes it without questioning too deep. Meanwhile Hulan is asked by an old friend to look into Miaoshan's, her only child, death. The two of them meet from opposite sides of the same case involving American companies breaking a lot of laws on Chinese soil. While they struggle not to break their professional code of ethics, they try to solve the the puzzle to figure out wh ...more
Nov 04, 2013 Johnlandon rated it liked it
in this book "The Interior" we see the story of these two main characters David and Hulan. we see these two people from completely different areas of the world find a love they once lost. From areas in LA, Bejing, and small villiages in china that have gone untouched by the modern age.
What I liked about this story was that even though two people that are kept apart for so can still love each other, I also like how the author add a good amount of detail, description, and how you got absorbed int
Jul 26, 2008 Donna rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
The "elements of fiction" are most often listed as follows: plot, character, setting, theme, and style. Genre fiction generally relies on one or more of the first three--plot, character, or setting--to carry the reader along. Strengths of theme and style are more characteristic of literary fiction. As I read Lisa See's The Interior, however, it seems that the strongest element is theme.

On page 380, a minor character remarks, "For so many years the government has talked about what is good for the
Jan 25, 2008 Liz rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in a novelization of the culture and history of China
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jean Carlton
I've enjoyed previous books by See but this one, readable enough, didn't hold my attention. I got anxious to be done with it even though the climax of events and resolution of the main mystery should have made the ending more compelling.
I admit to knowing very little about China in general let alone China/US relations and factory corruption. I did get a picture that I trust knowing that See is Chinese herself and is a thorough researcher. This is one of a series known as Red Princess mysteries f
Jul 08, 2014 Mkingsford rated it it was amazing
Lisa See is getting better with each book. This is Book 2 of the Red Princess series. Liu and David are back with another adventure. He has been asked to open an office in Beijing. Liu has been asked to check into the mysterious death of a childhood friend of hers daughter. The adventure takes off from there. Kind of gruesome in some parts, but well written. Gives you a feel of China and what those people have gone through for years.
Frances L
Feb 27, 2016 Frances L rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second in the Red Princess series. Lui Hulan and David are in Bejing. David is setting up an office and Lui Hulan is investigating the suicide of a friend,s daughter. Somehow, the two are connected, and it's up to the two of them to solve the mysteries. The crimes involve money laundering, unsafe factory practice and murder. A good read,and defferently not a cozy.
Karen A.
Jun 26, 2008 Karen A. rated it really liked it
This is the second book in Lisa See's Red Princess series. It is just as good as the first. Again exploring current topics between China and the US. Free market expansion in rural and rustic parts of China. Labor practices. The same main characters are back: Inspector Liu Hulan (also Red Princess) and her American lover/beau attorney David Stark. Liu is asked by an old friend to investigate her daughters death which looked like a suicide but she suspects is actually a murder. David is asked by h ...more
Lerida Grant
Apr 12, 2014 Lerida Grant rated it liked it
This is a good/easy read - some very interesting observations on China and its "systems" and attitude towards foreign investment. Also an insight into the hash conditions endured by women /girls to try and forge ahead in a patriarchal system. Exposes shocking conditions of the factories many of them work in.
Nov 06, 2012 Patty rated it really liked it
Shelves: readin12, on-ipad
I am now a big fan of Lisa See! "The Interior" is the second book in her mystery series and I think it was just as interesting and mysterious as the first. However, instead of mainly taking place in Beijing, Liu Hulan, the Chinese detective goes back to an area in the interior of China where she had worked alongside the peasants during the Cultural Revolution.

The daughter of her friend was working for an American toy factory when she died. Although made to look like a suicide Hulan believed di
Mar 16, 2014 Saija rated it liked it
Not as good as the first book but I still didn't want to put it down. Looking forward to reading the third book. I really did enjoy how she wove in the Chinese traditions and differences to US customs, including the way people think. I really think Lisa See is a brilliant author.
T.W. Fendley
Feb 01, 2014 T.W. Fendley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this out of order and now want to go back and read the first book in the Red Princess series because this was even better than the third book. Lisa See gives us a glimpse of what it may be like inside modern China, from the peasant class to the privileged, in a tale of love, greed and murder. I found the audiobook easy to follow.
Barbara Loggia
Aug 07, 2014 Barbara Loggia rated it liked it
disappointing book by See. Mystery in China goes into too many loops and didn't hold my attention. Murder in a toy factory/Chinese traditions/American atty-Chinese govmt girlfriend/some view of Chinese factory abuses and the greed of men from America and china.
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Lisa See is a Chinese-American author. Her books include Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005), Dragon Bones, and On Gold Mountain. She was named the 2001 National Woman of the Year, by the Organization of Chinese American Women. She lives in Los Angeles.

More about Lisa See...

Other Books in the Series

Red Princess (3 books)
  • Flower Net (Red Princess, #1)
  • Dragon Bones (Red Princess, #3)

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