Diamond Head

Cecily Wong. Harper, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-234543-1
Wong’s earnest debut novel is a sweeping family saga in the tradition of Amy Tan. Told from multiple points of view and moving back and forth in time over several generations of the Leong family, the story centers on how people remain tied to one another. It opens in Honolulu in 1964 as friends and family gather for Bohai Leong’s funeral. Shocked by Bohai’s unexpected death, his wife, Amy, is still coming to terms with her teenage daughter Theresa’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Capable aunt Hong helps manage the day and watches over Bohai’s emotionally crippled mother, Lin. Most of the characters have secrets rooted in the family’s past in Guangdong, China, where Bohai was born in 1909 to a prosperous businessman, Frank, and his concubine, Hailee. After moving to the titular location (a volcano on the outskirts of Honolulu), wife Lin delivers the son, Kaipo, she had long vowed to give to her husband Frank. When Bohai grows into a virtual recluse, Lin decides to find a wife for him. This is where the tension finally ratchets up. Lin’s choice of the lower-class, strong-minded Amy sets in motion a chain of events, including murder, that threaten the Leongs’ stability. While some of the incidents are a bit predictable, Wong perceptively captures her cast of characters and their setting. Agent: Meredith Kaffel, DeFiore and Company. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/23/2015
Release date: 04/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-234545-5
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-06-234544-8
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