Jacob is a 17-year old young man from England in Amsterdam to visit a friend of his grandmother’s, Geertrui, who as a young woman helped nurse woundedJacob is a 17-year old young man from England in Amsterdam to visit a friend of his grandmother’s, Geertrui, who as a young woman helped nurse wounded British soldiers during WW II. One storyine follows Jacob in his adventures in and around Amsterdam during his stay in Holland. Another storyline, set during WWII, tells of Geertrui falling in love with a British soldier—Jacob’s grandfather. The two stories are artfully interwoven and told in intercut chapters which play counterpoint to one another. The two stories fold together very nicely toward the end of the book. The story is engaging and the dialog clever. Jacob is confronted with adultery, homosexuality, transvestitism, and euthanasia. In spite of these elements the main characters are all impressive for their forthrightness and their sensitivity. Underscored is the idea that regardless of experiences, geography, lifestyle, and language we all share something in common: our humanity....more
Although this begins and ends among the Chinese Americans in California, the bulk of this story is set in mid-twentieth century China. Winnie tells heAlthough this begins and ends among the Chinese Americans in California, the bulk of this story is set in mid-twentieth century China. Winnie tells her life story to her grown daughter—a story of a lonely childhood followed by an arranged marriage to a self-centered, second-rate businessman who lacks integrity and any other value you care to name.
By her own wits and sense of values, her friendships, and more than a bit of luck, Winnie not only survives her marriage and the Japanese bomb raids, but goes on to marry an American soldier, immigrate to the United States and settle in California. Offering insights into Chinese history and culture this is an inspiring, triumphant story of one woman’s courage....more