cover image The Tiger Mom’s Tale

The Tiger Mom’s Tale

Lyn Liao Butler. Berkley, $17 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-19872-8

Butler’s riveting debut follows a half-white personal trainer who reconnects with her Taiwanese family after her biological father’s death. Thirty-something New Yorker Lexa Thomas learns from her half sister, Hsu-Ling, that their father, Jing Tao, died in an accident. Hsu-Ling tells Lexa that just before the accident, Jing Tao visited his best friend, Pong, on his death bed (Pong was dying from cancer), and that Pong made an apology and confession to Jing Tao involving his role in previous unfair treatment of Lexa by Hsu-Ling’s mother, Pin-Yen. Pong then leaves his estate to Lexa under the condition that she returns to Taiwan—and her estranged family—to claim it. While Lexa decides what to do, she and her American half sister contend with their mother’s decision to leave their father for another woman, and a series of flashbacks unpack Lexa’s fraught relationship with Pin-Yen, who, during Lexa’s previous visits to Taiwan, schemed to ensure she wouldn’t return. Butler weaves in convincing descriptions of Lexa’s navigating of the dating scene and the fetishizing of Asian women, and depicts a fascinatingly complex antagonist in Pin-Yen, who by the end must contend with the effect of her past actions. Butler breathes zesty new life into women’s fiction. Agent: Rachel Brooks, BookEnds Literary Agency. (July)