Joss and GoldBook - 2001
"Lim writes with such aching precision, revealing and insightfully analyzing her changing roles as woman, immigrant, scholar, and Other."—San Francisco Chronicle on Shirley Lim's memoir Among the White Moon Faces
In her first novel, critically-acclaimed author Shirley Geok-lin Lim traces the unconventional development of an extended and very unlikely family. At the center of this captivating "un-love" story is Li An — a smart and strong-willed Malaysian woman of Chinese descent who finds herself attracted to an American Peace Corp volunteer, Chester. Tragedy touches Li An's family as anti-Chinese riots break out amidst the politically charged atmosphere of 1969 Malaysia. On the same night, Li An and Chester are drawn together at last, setting a course that will change both their lives.
After Chester leaves behind Malaysia and a pregnant Li An, this ambitious three-part novel jumps ahead in time to take on his life in 1980s America. As the possibility of a life without children grows for Chester and his ambitious wife Meryl, Chester is haunted by thoughts of the child he abandoned. He returns only to find that a very independent Li An has built a solid life for herself and her daughter amidst a very non traditional family of women.
As Lim'scharacters try to find a way back to their pasts and each other, they are caught up in the larger tensions between East and West, women and men, freedom and responsibility. With insight and wit Lim shows us that what we expect is not always what we get, but all roads lead us, ultimately, to our deepest selves.
Shirley Geok-lin Lim is the author of Among the White Moon Faces: An Asian-American Memoir of Homelands as well as Two Dreams: New and Selected Stories, and Crossing the Peninsula and other Poems. She is professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara.