Nancy's Reviews > A Thread of Sky

A Thread of Sky by Deanna Fei
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Apr 25, 10

bookshelves: fiction, travel, family, women, asian-american, china, first-reads
Recommended for: Anyone interested in Chinese culture
Read from April 17 to 25, 2010 — I own a copy

Thank you Goodreads for this First Reads win!

This is a book about a group of diverse Chinese women who share a common heritage but are emotionally and physically apart. The recently widowed mother conceives of the idea of taking a trip to China with her three estranged daughters, sister and mother, hoping the trip will help them reconnect. All of them operate on a web of misunderstandings that are brought to light by their close quarters while traveling together and incidents that happen along the way. The characters in Fei’s book were well-drawn and believable and the descriptions poignant. And, I liked the fact that she didn’t tie everything up neatly at the end. The story read true-to-life; it was believable.

While the story about family intrigued me, what I really enjoyed were the glimpses of modern-day China and its history. I was motivated often to google such things as Zi Jin Cheng, the Forbidden City, where the Emperor of Heaven was said to reign; the significance of jade in Chinese culture; war-time kite flying and the legend that the first kite was born when a Chinese farmer tied a string to his hat to keep it from blowing away in a strong wind; and so on. That’s probably why it took me a bit longer to finish this book than usual. I loved all the information on China that prompted me to learn more.

My vacation to China was taken in the comfort of a cozy corner of my couch with my cat curled up beside me—no mosquitoes, no noisy crowds or tourist traps, no diarrhea from drinking tainted water. And yet, I could explore the Great Wall with Fei’s characters and learn of its history and ride the tour bus to Huangshen, the Golden Mountains. I was immersed in the culture of modern-day China through the power of the written word—is it any wonder I love books.
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