World and Town

Gish Jen, Knopf, $26.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-307-27219-5
Jen (The Love Wife) unwinds another expansive story of identity and acceptance, deploying voices that are as haunting and revealing as they are original. Hattie Kong, 68 and full of unresolved longing for her dead husband, her best friend, and an old lover, finds a sort of purpose in the new neighbors, an immigrant Cambodian family. As she nurtures a friendship with the family’s teenage daughter, Sophy, Hattie learns the family’s secrets. Sophy’s father, Chhung, has survived the horrors of Pol Pot, marrying Sophy’s mother in a refugee camp and adopting her brother, Sarun. Sarun and Sophy founder in America; Sarun has gang ties, and Sophy becomes involved with manipulative evangelicals. Chhung, isolated and unable to cope with his children, spends his days digging a pit behind their cramped trailer until one day he implodes in an act of horrifying violence. While pondering how to help the family, Hattie discovers much about her own motivations and her place in the world as the daughter of an American missionary and a descendant of Confucius. Jen’s prose is unique, dense, and enthralling, and her characters are marvels of authenticity. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/16/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4417-7360-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4417-7355-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4417-7356-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-4417-7357-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4417-7354-8
Open Ebook - 279 pages - 978-0-307-59441-9
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-4417-7359-3
Paperback - 466 pages - 978-0-307-47330-1
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