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Night of Many Dreams

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  2,137 Ratings  ·  171 Reviews
Night of Many Dreams: A Novel
Paperback, 275 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 1998)
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Rating details
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Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Rana Yehia Adham
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a book ultimately about Family.

Of the two sisters, I ended up liking Joan more. I really didn't understand Emma's motivations towards the end, and I really didn't understand how she couldn't have found time to travel and see her family. For fifteen years.

When everything is said and done, it's the Family that stands by her during her darkest moments.

Now to Tsukiyama's writing. I actually enjoyed her writing, and except for a section by Auntie Go where we had to relive a few years after li
Mar 26, 2015 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 24, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars - This is the second book by Tsukiyama that I've read and I have enjoyed both. Night of Many Dreams is a story of two sisters, Emma and Joan who are growing up in China. They have different wishes for their lives and must also deal with their mother's wishes for them. They're very close with their Aunt Go too. The story begins when they're young children and follows them as they become adult women and begin their own lives. It alternates perspectives between Emma, Joan, and occasionall ...more
Jan 09, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Dec 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished-in-2009, own
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it liked it
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.
Sherilyn Siy
Jul 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
I had high hopes for this book seeing all the positive reviews from major newspapers. It felt like a reporting of a series of events and had no depth to the story or the characters. The characters were flat as carboard. For example, Mah-mee was a nagging mom, beautiful even when she aged, and always unhappy with her daughter's life choices. There isn't anything more to Mah-mee even though her character had potential for a lot of depth. When the story drags, the author picks it up by throwing in ...more
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is my second book by Gail Tsukiyama, and I loved it just as much as the first (The Samurai's Garden). The thing I like the most is that the writing completely transports me to another place and time. The descriptions and details just paint such a vivid picture that it's easy to imagine you are there, living that life, feeling what they're feeling. I felt like I could relate to a lot of the characters, and similar to the last book, I was really emotionally moved by the end of it. If you're l ...more
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mijn derde boek van Tsukiyama en ik geraak meer en meer betoverd door haar verhalen, schrijfstijl, manier waarop ze personages uitwerkt.
In dit boek volgen we twee zussen in China, in de periode tussen 1940 en 1965. De oorlog speelt een rol, maar ook de modernisering van omgangsvormen, een stuk feminisme, enz. Heel, heel erg mooi.

En omdat ik merk dat de boeken van Tsukiyama niet meer gedrukt worden, heb ik via Bol tweedehands nog drie boeken van haar besteld. Voor mij zijn haar boeken must haves.
Unlike most of Gail Tsukiyama's stories, this tale over simplified the relationship between members of a family. I felt the character descriptions were minimal and thus did not invite the "reader into the story." All too often, I felt emotionally distant from the characters and was unable to really feel anything for Joan and Emma when they struggled or they lost their mates.

The one redeeming element of the story was the special bond the women shared and the support they had for one another despi
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful writing as usual. Tsukiyama writes about family bonds and tradition like nobody else. The women in her books make you want to jump into the story and be their friend, help them, argue with them, laugh and cry with them. She takes us on a journey from old Hong Kong to modern times with love and joy, sorrow and pain. More please.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Story told from multiple characters' point of view; interesting that it was never from the mother's.
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 22, 2015 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
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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,
May 22, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jun 29, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it
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
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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).
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