This book changed me the first time I read it at 13. Slightly jaded characters on a spiritual quest, it read like something fresh and different to the...moreThis book changed me the first time I read it at 13. Slightly jaded characters on a spiritual quest, it read like something fresh and different to the 13 year old first reading it. I finally understood what a real story could read like and it's one I tend to lend often even now. It is one the biggest influences on my own writing- and pure genius!(less)
The New York Times views this story as a "coming-of-age" story, but for me, the novel was more about discovering who the other people in your family r...moreThe New York Times views this story as a "coming-of-age" story, but for me, the novel was more about discovering who the other people in your family really are instead of discovering who you are.
Lewis Lum is convinced that the Lum family is cursed and that Death is collecting the remaining members one by one as revenge for his grandfather cheating it. If you think that Death is chasing you, it affects some of the decisions you make- like you never eat hamburger at fast food restaurants, you always look both ways two or three times before crossing the street, and you invite Jesus into your heart three hundred and fifty times... but that's just the beginning. A quirky family tale that made me laugh and giggle, Chieng does a great job of making a different culture accessible and comprehensible to the non-Chinese reader while at the same time portraying a loving, but somewhat manipulative family.
One of my favorite passages is when Lewis is eating out in Hong Kong and orders turnip cakes. When the golden cakes arrive at the table, he smells them carefully, examining every inch before tasting them. His grandmother had made the terrible tasting things from an old family recipe for every family gathering (which is mostly premature funerals from bizarre events) and nobody likes them. For the first time in his life, Lewis is about to discover what they are really supose to taste like. It's an awesome scene and one I wish I'd written. The characters seem real and they each have their own story which is slowly revealed. With such a distinctive voice, I don't have to worry about losing my own, and since it's not a complicated read, it helped with the sense of brain boredom. I found this book when I was chasing down another book that hasn't arrived yet! (I'll tell you about it when it's here and read!). I wish Chieng had more books written for me to read- that's the worst part about reading 1st books!(less)
Gibson is one of the best modern writers I read. His stuff is always smart, cutting edge, and I regret finishing one of his books as soon as I reach t...moreGibson is one of the best modern writers I read. His stuff is always smart, cutting edge, and I regret finishing one of his books as soon as I reach the last page. He's one of the few authors that I will reread and his voice is so unique that I don't worry about absorbing it. With his cyberpunk imagery, his sense of trends, and his authentic feel, it's no wonder he has a huge following.
The main character in this story is the angst filled, Cayce Pollard who has the coolest job in the whole world- "cool hunter". She identifies the latest unknown street trends for marketing groups and tells them if their logos and designs will work. She doesn't have to explain why something will or will not, which is good since she has a strong gut reaction that most people wouldn't understand. She's also allergic to major brand names. Being around them can cause something like a panic attack.
Add a missing person from 9/11, a mysterious movie that is appearing on the web in tiny chunks, the Russian mafia, and cool toys and you have a great, sexy mystery novel that isn't your normal mystery novel.
I wasn't too thrilled with the ending. I think if a character is a real jerk, the reader should know before the ending. It was interesting to see a good writer make a different choice with that. But as a reader... it felt a bit contrived. (less)