A Thread of Sky

Deanna Fei, Author
Deanna Fei, Author . Penguin Press $24.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-59420-249-0
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-101-19767-7
Paperback - 354 pages - 978-0-14-311862-6
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When Irene Shen's husband of 30 years walks out on her, she says, “Good riddance,” only to learn hours later that he's been killed in a car accident. Stunned by the chain of events and dreading her imminent empty-nester status, Irene concocts a plan to strengthen blood ties through a family tour of China. But Irene's 80-year-old mother, Lin Yulan, in her youth a feminist revolutionary during the Chinese civil war, balks at returning to China, and Irene's three daughters—Nora, a successful bond trader; Kay, a social activist; and Sophie, a talented artist—are distracted by their own troubles. The characters are sympathetic and draw the reader easily into their tangled lives, but despite Fei's obvious talent, this debut has the feel of M.F.A. fiction. The hoary dictum “write what you know” hovers above every page of this novel. The story unfurls smoothly, yet never really touches the heart. (Apr.)

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