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Click to search this book in our catalog The Many Daughters Of Afong Moy
by Jamie Ford

Kirkus Covering 250 years, Ford’s new novel traces the way states of consciousness involving extreme moments of pain or joy interconnect seven generations of Chinese women. Embedded images—airplanes, ships, waves—and the occasional ghostly vision highlight how these women’s lives reverberate as the focus moves back and forth in time. In 1942 China, Faye Moy, a nurse in her 50s who’s working with American forces, feels an eerie connection to a dying young pilot in whose pocket she finds a newspaper photograph of herself as a teenager and a note in her own handwriting that says, “FIND ME.” Finding oneself and/or one’s soul mate becomes the throughline of the book. Faye’s great-grandmother Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman in America, dies in childbirth after a short career being exhibited as a curiosity in the 1830s. Faye’s mother, Lai King (Afong’s granddaughter), sails to Canton after her parents’ deaths in San Francisco’s Chinatown fire of 1892. Onboard ship she bonds with a young White boy, also an orphan, and nurses him when contagion strikes. When Faye is 14, she has an illegitimate daughter who is adopted and raised in England. Presumably that girl is Zoe Moy, who, in 1927, attends the famously progressive Summerhill School, where a disastrous social experiment in fascism destroys her relationship with a beloved poetry teacher. In 2014, Zoe’s emotionally fragile granddaughter, Greta, loses both her skyrocketing tech career and the love of her life at the hands of an evil capitalist. While several earlier Moys receive aid and guidance from Buddhist monks, Greta’s troubled poet daughter, Dorothy, turns to both Buddhism and radical scientific treatment to uncover and understand how past crises, emotional, physical, and spiritual, are destabilizing her current life in 2045. Expect long treatises on anamnesis, quantum biology, and reincarnation before traveling with Dorothy’s adult daughter in 2086. Ford raises fascinating questions, but a rushed ending too neatly ties up the answers in an unconvincing, sentimental bow. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal The Edgar-nominated Bayard follows up Courting Mr. Lincoln with Jackie & Me, which reimagines Jacqueline Bouvier meeting Jack Kennedy and, as they approach marriage, slowly realizing that she's being polished as the perfect political wife. The New York Times best-selling, multi-award-winning Belfer introduces us to disappointed academic Hannah Larson, who travels to historic Ashton Hall to tend a relative and begins reconstructing events there during the Elizabethan era after her neurodivegent young son, Nicky, discovers a skeleton in the walls. Drawing on ancient texts and modern archaeology to unearth a trans woman's story beneath The Iliad, Deane's Wrath Goddess Sing reveals an Achilles living as a woman with the transgender priestesses of Great Mother Aphrodite and refusing Odysseus's call to fight until given the body of a woman by Athena and heading into battle to confront an immortal, viciously implacable Helen. From Ford, the author of the mega-best-selling Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, The Many Daughters of Afong May tells the story of Dorothy Moy, who turns her often painful dissociative mental-health crises into art; when her daughter begins revealing similar tendencies, Dorothy seeks to waylay the consequences of inherited trauma by engaging in a radical therapy that connects her with brave women ancestors (125,000-copy first printing). In debuter Pook's Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter, set in late 1800s Australia, young Englishwoman Eliza Brightwell sets off to find her eccentric father when the pearl-fishing boat he captains returns to port without him (60,000-copy first printing). In Pulley's Cold War-set The Half-Life of Valery K, when former nuclear specialist Valery Kolkhanov is removed from the Gulag and asked to study the effects of radiation in a mysterious town housing nuclear reactors, he's truly worried about how much radiation there is (60,000-copy first printing). In New York Times best-selling author Rimmer's latest, The German Wife of a Nazi scientist pardoned and put to work in the start-up U.S. space program doesn't feel at home among the other NASA wives and confides her husband's SS past to exactly the wrong person (200,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing).

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Book list Ford (Love and Other Consolation Prizes, 2017) showcases “transgenerational epigenetic inheritance”—inheriting trauma through generations—in another multitemporal narrative spanning two-and-a-half centuries across the globe. Ford deftly reveals seven women’s lives, beginning with progenitor Afong, “the first Chinese woman to set foot on American soil.” The name and epithet are actual history, which Ford embellishes with a poignant past and intriguing descendants. Child bride to a dead man, Afong is banished to the New World, where she disappears in 1836. Her legacy continues through Lai King, returned alone to China in 1892 to save her from certain plague death in San Francisco; nurse Faye in Kunming, who saves an American pilot in 1942; student Zoe at a progressive British school in 1927; feminist dating-app creator Greta in 2014. In 2045, battling personal crises, poet Dorothy becomes their epigenetic connector; by 2086, daughter Annabel will be the beneficiary of Dorothy’s transformative quest. While loneliness, suffering, and violence haunt throughout, Ford’s revisionist penultimate chapter, “Echoes,” feels less empowering than uncomfortably forced. That said, Ford fans are unlikely to be disappointed, his writing remains reliably immersive and enlightening.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Advance publicity will spur interest in Ford's fans and all readers who love sweeping historical fiction.

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Ford (Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet) explores in his intriguing if melodramatic latest the connections between seven generations of women, beginning with the historical Afong Moy, noted as the first Chinese woman to immigrate to the United States. In 2045, in a storm-besieged Seattle, Afong’s descendant Dorothy is having hallucinations from the points of view of women from the past. Dorothy seeks help from a Native American practitioner of the experimental “science” of epigenetics, which posits that it’s possible to inherit memories. The novel weaves scenes from the lives of other Moys—including a nurse in China in WWII, a student at the radical Summerhill boarding school in Great Britain, a young woman crossing the Pacific, and more—with scenes of Dorothy’s increasingly frantic attempts to hold onto some sort of sanity as a monsoon hits Seattle and her mind shifts between the present and the distant past. Ford sometimes bogs this down with explanations of epigenetics, and some might roll their eyes at the pat ending, but the individual accounts of the women in the family can be gripping. There’s some good storytelling here, but this doesn’t quite stand out amid an increasingly full shelf of multigenerational climate epics. Agent: Kirstin Nelson; Nelson Literary Agency. (Aug.)

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Kirkus Covering 250 years, Fords new novel traces the way states of consciousness involving extreme moments of pain or joy interconnect seven generations of Chinese women.Embedded imagesairplanes, ships, wavesand the occasional ghostly vision highlight how these womens lives reverberate as the focus moves back and forth in time. In 1942 China, Faye Moy, a nurse in her 50s whos working with American forces, feels an eerie connection to a dying young pilot in whose pocket she finds a newspaper photograph of herself as a teenager and a note in her own handwriting that says, FIND ME. Finding oneself and/or ones soul mate becomes the throughline of the book. Fayes great-grandmother Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman in America, dies in childbirth after a short career being exhibited as a curiosity in the 1830s. Fayes mother, Lai King (Afongs granddaughter), sails to Canton after her parents deaths in San Franciscos Chinatown fire of 1892. Onboard ship she bonds with a young White boy, also an orphan, and nurses him when contagion strikes. When Faye is 14, she has an illegitimate daughter who is adopted and raised in England. Presumably that girl is Zoe Moy, who, in 1927, attends the famously progressive Summerhill School, where a disastrous social experiment in fascism destroys her relationship with a beloved poetry teacher. In 2014, Zoes emotionally fragile granddaughter, Greta, loses both her skyrocketing tech career and the love of her life at the hands of an evil capitalist. While several earlier Moys receive aid and guidance from Buddhist monks, Gretas troubled poet daughter, Dorothy, turns to both Buddhism and radical scientific treatment to uncover and understand how past crises, emotional, physical, and spiritual, are destabilizing her current life in 2045. Expect long treatises on anamnesis, quantum biology, and reincarnation before traveling with Dorothys adult daughter in 2086.Ford raises fascinating questions, but a rushed ending too neatly ties up the answers in an unconvincing, sentimental bow. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Merci Suarez Changes Gears
by Meg Medina

Book list Gr. 5-8. Igus' prose poems and Wood's evocative paintings combine to give a succinct overview of African American music. A useful time line sets the social context, and brief paragraphs describe the various types of music, from African origins and slave songs through ragtime; the blues; big band, bebop, and cool jazz; gospel; rhythm and blues; and the contemporary sounds of rock, hip-hop, and rap. Igus effectively uses snippets from song lyrics to communicate both a feel for the music itself and a sense of how the various styles played to the emotions of the musicians and their fans ("From the basements to the rooftops, / I see the cool tones of modern jazz / escape the city heat"). Wood's paintings are equally suggestive. Mixing modernist and primitive styles and using color nicely to communicate musical style and tone, her art not only complements the text but vivifies it. Audience may be a problem: the supportive text is too sophisticated for younger readers to grasp themselves, and the format may alienate some older readers. Perhaps best used in a junior-high classroom with audio accompaniment, this striking book, in the hands of a creative teacher or librarian, could give kids a feeling for the majesty, creativity, and continuity of African American music. (Reviewed February 15, 1998)0892391510Bill Ott

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus The collaborators on Going Back Home (1997) return with a stunning history of African-American music. They begin 500 years ago, on the African continent, chronicle the slave trade, and document the work songs and spirituals of American slaves. The blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, R&B, rock, funk, rap, and hip hop all come under scrutiny in free-verse poems that incorporate lyrics about and the rhythms of every style. In addition, Igus has added a brief description of each musical movement and a terrific timeline noting highlights of African-American history--both musical and more general information--which roots the whole book in a broader context. Wood's vibrant paintings are based in historical detail, and resonate with emotion. The color choices, postures of the figures, as well as the expressions on their faces, reflect various aspects of African-American music; the pictures broadcast joy, innovation, and exuberance in the face of systematic oppression. A child hidden in each scene adds a nice piece of personality for readers to interpret. Stylish and lively design pulls it all together into an absorbing, attractive package. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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