Merry Wanderer of the Night + traveling

Book Review: A Thread of Sky

Deanna Fei's A Thread of Sky is the story of three generations of Chinese women going on a trip to China. For some it means returning home, for others it means learning about a history they've never experienced. Each woman has her own struggle, her own secret. These secrets keep them from understanding and knowing each other. Throughout the novel there is the question from the grandmother, "What kind of woman will you be?"-- but then there is the answering question, "Does planning what kind of woman I will be trap me?" This is truly the most underrated book I've read this year.

Fei has that slow writing style I've become such a fan of lately. It's not so much the story that kept me going, although the story has plenty of twists and turns, but the beautiful prose. Each chapter focuses on one woman and Fei's writing style has tiny changes to suit each woman's personality. For the bulimic Sophie the writing is a little quicker, more urgent. For Irene, the mother who planned it all after her husband died, the writing is desperate. For the grandmother the writing is somewhat stern as she looks at these women and wants to tell them exactly how to live their lives.

A Thread of Sky questions what Feminism means today from the perspective of an old Chinese immigrant, a former Feminist revolutionary, a middle-aged Chinese American, and a teenager. What is clear is that the answer is something different for each woman, and the answer is also a struggle. Does Feminism really mean having it all? Or does it mean choices? Or does it mean going against the grain? Maybe it means all three things.

This is just great fiction writing. I was truly impressed by the skill Fei exhibited in manipulating her writing style to fit the time, place, and person. It was one of the books where I occasionally had to set it down and just say out loud, "This book is so good."

I read this book as part of TLC Book Tours. Be sure to check out the other reviews posted about it.

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Book Review: A Thread of Sky + traveling