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Night of Many Dreams
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Night of Many Dreams

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  2,031 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
As World War II threatens their comfortable life in Hong Kong, young Joan and Emma Lew escape with their family to spend the war years in Macao. When they return home, Emma develops a deep interest in travel and sets her sights on an artistic life in San Francisco, while Joan turns to movies and thoughts of romance to escape the pressures of her real life. As the girls bec ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 07, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Night of Many Dreams was a little slow at first but the historical setting of Hong Kong in the early 1940′s kept me reading and I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed it. Constant shifts in point of view by an omniscient narrator, sometimes even jumping a bit back in time from the last character’s perspective, might be challenging for some. I didn’t find it disruptive, just different from your traditional linear story. Night of Many Dreams probably wouldn’t hold a lot of appeal to anyone looking for a ...more
Jan 17, 2015 Veronica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: alternating-pov
I'm usually a fan of Gail Tsukiyama's writing, but this was rather disappointing. From the various perspectives to the weird chronology and multiple flashbacks, I simply could not get into it. Because the story took place over such a long period of time, it felt rushed. It got more interesting towards the end, but this book was definitely hard to get through. It took me a long time to finish because I kept stopping putting it down, which hardly ever happens, so it was pretty bad.
Feb 28, 2016 ☮Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, read-in-2016
2.5 stars. This was likeable enough. A little too light and simplistic for my tastes. I did like the alternating stories, the idea of the two sisters growing up in Hong Kong from the 1940s to 1960s, trying to find their own ways while still respecting their mother's traditionalism.

This is my fifth book by Tsukiyama, and definitely not my favorite.
Mar 26, 2015 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I love Gail Tsukiyama and have read 3 other books of hers; The Samurai's Garden being one of my all-time favorite books. Night of Many Dreams fell short of my expectations of her writing and yet I did enjoy the read. I would give it 3.5 stars if I could.

The first half of the book moved well with the tale of a family in Hong Kong during WWII and the Japanese occupation. Gail has a way of making you see into the thoughts of her characters and be a part of their lives for a while. As time progresse
Mar 15, 2009 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
My friend Marjorie just LOVES Gail Tsukiyama, so she chose this book for book club. I liked it. The characters are growing up in WWII China (and each chapter flips between 3 main characters: 2 sisters and their single aunt) and the focus is the relationships between the sisters, their mother (whose sole goal is to get them married off) and their aunt, who owns her own knitting factory. The writing is light and lovely, but I wasn't that connected to the seemed like they didn't hav ...more
This story follows a family; two sisters, their mother, their aunt and their cook through 25 years of their lives. A tale of love, losses and change.

I fell in ... admiration... of Gail Tsukiyama's books when I first read Women of the Silk. From there I picked up a book here and there; usually when I noticed them on the shelves at the bookstore or at Costco. I never went out of my way to hunt them down.

Her books are not rip-roaring thrillers or slash 'em up horrors or even remotely fantasy relate
Tam G
And I picked up Gail Tsukiyama's Night of Many Dreams somewhere in the last month or two. I enjoyed three of her other novels and it is a light read in the vein of Lisa See's books. This one follows two sisters in Hong Kong growing up during and after WWII. I enjoyed the place portrayals of Hong Kong, Macao, San Francisco. It was an easy, upbeat read which felt realistic enough to the time period and culture and did not devolve into major plot drama. The story was more interested in the two sist ...more
Oct 17, 2011 Camy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am just on a roll here reading all the books on themes that I love. Here is another exploration of the relationship that binds families - set again in Hong Kong juxtaposed with North America. The book was finished in a day - the author's style is easy to read, very clear and uncomplicated. Perhaps the story lacked stronger emotion and could have been a little more detailed. However, I felt that it accomplished its goals and it clearly gave us insight into this the lives of Joan and Emma. It di ...more
Mar 03, 2012 Judith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Night of Many Dreams has an interesting plot and interesting characters. However, the writing style was too superficial. You were not emotionally involved with the characters because Tsukiyama never reveals the inner feelings of those characters. As I read the novel, I felt as if I were watching the characters from afar, rather than viewing the world around them from their eyes. I also didn't get the real sense of the surroundings when I read Tsukiyama's descriptions. As I said earlier, the plot ...more
Sep 27, 2009 Barbara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was disappointing for me. Altho dealing with an interesting subject, the author only gave me a dispassionate telling of pretty regular lives. I didn't feel close to any of the characters, and life-changing events just came and went w/very little passion or discussion. I probably won't remember this tale for very long. It's a shame, because I really liked "Women of the Silk."
Becki Basley
I loved this story. Gail Tsukiyama remains one of my favorites! Not wanting to give any spoilers let me just say this is a story about a family who survive dynamic change in their country and grow on separate paths as individuals while remaining at their very core loving toward each other. While I'm doubtful this exists anymore in reality it's nice to still keep the dream alive
Feb 01, 2011 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was like watching a movie directed by Anh Hung Tran. This book flows softly from word to word, chapter to chapter. A warm journey into the lives of Emma and Joan and their Baba and Mah-mee. And of course Aunti Go. Like an Anh Hung Tran movie it is slow sensual and emotional.
Dec 08, 2012 Kirsten rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-fiction
Solid storytelling and an interesting look into wartime and post- WW2 Hong Kong. I think I 've just read too many stories set in Hong Kong and this one didn't sing for me.
Jan 04, 2017 Lara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While Tsukiyama gives us very well crafted characters in this novel - women who are not only strong, but also flawed and full of passion, thoughts, and emotions - I did feel like she tried to fit too much drama into their lives, or perhaps overdid the foreshadowing, so that by the last third of the book I was predicting every tragedy that striked the Lew family several pages in advance. However, I did also enjoy the setting, as she was able to give me a strong impression of life in Hong Kong (a ...more
Jason Prodoehl
Dec 20, 2016 Jason Prodoehl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I've enjoyed other books by this author. This was was well-written, and tells the story of a family in Hong Kong from the 1940s to 1960s. I found it mildly interesting, but not really that compelling. It isn't bad, but isn't that great either.
Oct 23, 2016 Monica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a likeable book, with an interesting plot story of a family during the World War 2, the effect that happens to them, and how they manage to move on. The author switches to one character in the main family to another but mostly goes to the two daugthers, the aunt and the mother. It has a great sensory detailed storyline that leaves your mind with a imagery scene throughout each chapter. Although that the connection, in my opinion, wasn't as strong like with other books.

Dec 12, 2016 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A small story of sisters and family, sorrow and hope, Tsukiyama's book stirs emotions but doesn't delve too deeply. A pleasant read.
Heidi Burkhart
Oct 19, 2016 Heidi Burkhart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story and characters were well done. There were a few abrupt shifts that lacked smooth transitions. I did like the settings in Macao and Hong Kong.
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
Nine-year old Emma and her sister, fourteen-year old Joan, live a pretty luxurious life in Hong Kong, until war intrudes. With Japan invading Hong Kong and snatching it away from Britain, Emma and her family move to the Portuguese colony Macao, where Emma meets her best friend, and Joan tries to drown herself in cooking to escape from a morale-shattering incident that happened just before they left. After the war, however, their mom sends Joan out on countless dates so that Joan can get married ...more
Oct 09, 2016 Philia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great novel from beginning to end. TTsukiyama's story telling is smooth as silk as she tells the Lew sisters and their family, at a period and places that are close to my heart.
Thank you for a pleasant reading.
Feb 19, 2010 Carly705 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me think about the bond family has. In this book, Emma and Joan have a very special bond. Emma always looks up to Joan because of her bravery and courage. Joan loves Emma because of her kindness and honesty and friend making skills. They are very different things, but it works out in their relationship.

In our world sibling relationships usually DO NOT work out. In my family there are fights and screaming and meltdowns. But we all love each other. Like batteries, opposites attract
Jun 17, 2016 Patricia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not one of Tsukiyama stronger books. To me, there seemed to be a lot of flaws in this book. The story was just drab. The story progressed from childhood to adulthood for the two protagonist sisters, Joan and Emma Lew. They live in Hong Kong whereby the Lew's evacuate to Macao during WWII as the Japanese invade their homeland. Their father Ba-Ba stays behind. The mother. Kim Leng, auntie Go, and their cook Foon leave. They return after the war and slipped back into their life. Joan never finds lo ...more
May 27, 2015 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in historical Chinese fiction
This is a pretty decent story that takes place mostly in Hong Kong from about 1940, when the Japanese were invading Hong Kong, to the mid-1960's. It's the story of a family with two daughters, Joan and Emma. The girls are not adults at the start of the book; Joan is probably a teen and Emma is the little sister. Neither daughter follows the path that is desired for them by their mother. She just wants them to get good husbands and settle down. Instead, Joan becomes an actress and earn acclaim in ...more
This book is eerily similar to Shanghai Girls. I don’t think it was on purpose at all. But the similarities are there: focused on two sisters, growing up in pre-WWII China (Hong Kong in this case, Shanghai of course in the other), the older sister the more beautiful one who becomes an actress, and some of the action takes place in the US. Shanghai Girls, though, was focused on the angst. And it was truly impossible for any male to be an actual love interest. In this one, the girls get to be happ ...more
Apr 10, 2009 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tsukiyama turns out another novel in which you can taste, sense and feel the world she creates!

"Two sisters...separate family that binds them together forever.

Emma and Joan are the two daughters of the Lew family, coming of age during and after the turbulent years of World War II. Beautiful elder sister Joan hopes for a traditional family life, but through a series of troubled relationships begins a career as a Chinese film actress. Emma, inspired by the independence of her Aunt Go,
Night of Many Dreams is told from three different points of view – Joan, Emma, and Auntie Go – over a period of more than twenty years. At the start of the novel, World War II is underway and no one living in Hong Kong believes that Japan will invade the British colony. When the war progresses, we see how it affects 11 year old Emma and her older sister Joan.

Over the years, the family changes as the daughters grow and take paths that differ from what their mother expected. It’s not an action pac
Mandy Gilbert
This novel followed the lives of two Japanese sisters growing up in Hong Kong during WWII. There really was no plot to this book, it was more of a life story. We follow the lead characters from the time they are young girls until they are adults leading lives of their own.
I enjoyed the differing perspectives and the background descriptions. I love being taken back in time, and the author delivers, painting vivid images of Hong Kong, Macau and San Francisco from days gone by. In fact, since read
Mar 12, 2009 Marjorie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Caroline, Lindsay, Meredith
I love Tsukiyama's writing style and character development. This novel was different than her others in that each character narrated a chapter in the book, so you got to really know the characters' thoughts and others perspectives of them through.
I also loved the description on Foon's cooking. It made me hungry!This novel took place from 1940-1965 and dealt with women's independence vs. societies pressure of getting married. I saw many connections to the pressures of today with women being more
Feb 22, 2009 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, asian
I really like this author. When I find an author I enjoy, I'm loyal. This book follows a family in Hong Kong before and after WWII. The story centers around the two sisters and their aunt and how they each make their way in life. They follow their dreams, even though they aren't traditional, and this causes conflict with the mother/sister. So interesting to watch the story develop. That's one of the things I like about Tsukiyama. You watch the story open up and grow and really come to know the c ...more
Nov 21, 2011 Kristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
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Born to a Chinese mother and a Japanese father in San Francisco, Gail Tsukiyama now lives in El Cerrito, California. Her novels include Women of the Silk (1991), The Samurai's Garden (1995), Night of Many Dreams (1998), The Language of Threads (1999), Dreaming Water (2002), and The Street of a Thousand Blossoms (2007).
More about Gail Tsukiyama...

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