cover image Repeat After Me

Repeat After Me

Rachel DeWoskin, . . Overlook, $23.95 (319pp) ISBN 978-1-59020-222-7

DeWoskin, author of the memoir Foreign Babies in Beijing , presents a complex love story of cultural intersection, communication barriers, psychotic breakdowns and the search for life's big, unknowable truths. On Manhattan's Upper West Side, several months after 1989's Tiananmen Square massacre, young college dropout Aysha Silvermintz is recovering from an emotional collapse. Teaching an adult class on English as a second language, she meets a young Chinese student named Chen Da Ge, an even more unstable soul she finds herself falling for. Under the pretense of helping him gain citizenship, but hoping for a romantic relationship, Silvermintz agrees to marry Chen, whose feelings and past she still finds a mystery. Silvermintz narrates her story from 13 years later, and the parallel narrative finds Chen dead and Silvermintz living in Beijing with their daughter. Immersing them both in the world of Chen's past, Silvermintz struggles to gain a better understanding of her husband and their time together. A tender story of manic love and loss, this is a heartbreaking and uplifting novel with memorably off-kilter leads. (May)