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The Afterlife of Emerson Tang
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The Afterlife of Emerson Tang

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  35 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
A beloved car becomes a piece of us—a way back into our histories or forward into our destinies. For Emerson Tang, the only son of a prominent New England family, that car is a 1954 Beacon. A collector—of art and experience—Emerson keeps his prized possession safely stored away. But when his health begins to fail, his archivist and caretaker is approached by a secretive Fr ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 12th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2011)
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Rating details
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Jul 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
So bad I couldn't finish it.
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
This book. It's a good one. It's good in that strange way where you're not sure about it until you look back at the incredible passages you've highlighted and think about the people you want to recommend it to.

It's also one of those rare cases where I think the blurb can do a better job of describing the premise of without spoiling than I can.

While this is a novel that revolves around a car, it is not a novel about a car. Instead, it is a search for answers and purpose while facing loss. The de
May 08, 2013 rated it liked it
The Afterlife of Emerson Tang is an ambitious novel that, on the surface, is about the search for a car. Emerson Tang is dying. The son of a wealthy man and a Chinese woman rescued from Mao, Emerson never quite losing his mother at a young age. Now that he is dying, he is obsessed with reuniting the body of a vintage car with it's original engine. We don't know why he wants this car so desperately until almost the end of the book. At the same time, an French artist named Helene seems to want the ...more
The writing is very atmospheric and I was excited to read it but the story didn't hold up very well for me. An elderly man owns a classic car, a Beacon 54 which he has kept in mint condition for years. There are other people who desire the car but the engine turns out to be missing. A search for the engine ensues. I was so disinterested I'm not sure how the story ended, just that it did. Not a favorite.
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I wasn't sure about this book at first. It was one of those that I read a chapter or two and put down for a while. I decided to pick it back up recently and finish it so I could write a review since I received it as part of the First Reads program. I ended up really enjoying the book and had trouble putting it down once I got started. I would encourage anyone to give this book a shot, even if you have trouble getting into it at first.
May 12, 2013 rated it liked it
This really is a 3.5 only because there were some very curious concepts which still have me thinking. A couple of spots at the end got a little out there for me but overall worth the read!
Lisa Fierro
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable read. Characters were not developed as much as I would have liked and not sure why so many tragic ends. Did enjoy reading and did like what I did read about characters.
Chris Fortunato
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written novel.
Mary Ann
Mar 28, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is well written, the main character's life and her association with the other 3, is an interesting premise, and a thought provoking one.
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Paula Champa writes on design and the arts and has contributed to magazines including Surface, Intersection, American Artist, Print, and I.D. Over the past decade, she has reported on car culture and the emergence of sustainable transportation. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, she was educated at Boston College and the University of Pennsylvania, and holds a master's degree from Virginia Commonwe ...more

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