Blending narrative with analysis, Peter Davies explores a time of obscene opulence, mass starvation, and ground-breaking ideals; where the streets of Paris ran red with blood, and the numbers requiring execution precipitated the invention of the guillotine. Davies brings the subject up to date by considering the legacy of the revolution and how it continues to resonate in today’s France.
Inhabiting four lives - a railroad baron's valet who unwittingly ignites an explosion in Chinese labor, Hollywood's first Chinese movie star, a hate-crime victim whose death mobilizes Asian Americans, and a biracial writer visiting China for an adoption - this novel captures and capsizes over a century of our history, showing that even as family bonds are denied and broken, a community can survive - as much through love as blood.
"The threads throughout the stories."
Inspired by three figures who lived at pivotal moments in Chinese American history, and drawing on his own mixed-race experience, Peter Ho Davies plunges us into what it is like to feel and be treated like a foreigner in the country you call home. Ranging from the mouth of the Pearl River to the land of golden opportunity, this remarkable audiobook spans 150 years to tell a tale of familial bonds denied, of tenacity and pride, of prejudice and the universal need to belong.
In 1944, a German Jewish refugee is sent to Wales to interview Rudolf Hess; in Snowdonia, a 17-year-old girl, the daughter of a fiercely nationalistic shepherd, dreams of the bright lights of an English city; and in a nearby POW camp, a German soldier struggles to reconcile his surrender with his sense of honour. As their lives intersect, all three will come to question where they belong and where their loyalties lie.