On Gold Mountain

The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family
By: Lisa See
Narrated by: Kate Reading
Length: 18 hrs and 6 mins
4 out of 5 stars (238 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Out of the stories heard in her childhood in Los Angeles's Chinatown and years of research, See has constructed this sweeping chronicle of her Chinese-American family, a work that takes in stories of racism and romance, entrepreneurial genius and domestic heartache, secret marriages and sibling rivalries, in a powerful history of two cultures meeting in a new world.

The result is a vivid, sweeping family portrait in the tradition of Alex Haley's Roots that is at once particular and universal, telling the story not only of one family, but of the Chinese people in America itself, a country that both welcomes and reviles immigrants like no other culture in the world. On Gold Mountain was a national best seller and a New York Times Notable Book.

©1996 Lisa See (P)2011 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Astonishing.... A comprehensive and exhaustively researched account of a Chinese-American family... that juggles such explosive elements as race, class, tradition, prejudice, poverty, and great wealth in new and relatively unexpected combinations." ( The Los Angeles Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story...awful narration

Would you listen to On Gold Mountain again? Why?

NO! I couldn't stand the narrator, despite my extreme motivation to listen, as my family has Chinese connections of great interest.

What did you like best about this story?

Personal, documented, interesting and well researched.

How could the performance have been better?

More feeling, less monotone...the narrator seemed to be judgemental, and extremely, irritatingly unemotional.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I got through 15%, and despite my motivation to learn more, I ordered the printed book and will ask for a refund for the recording...the narrator was extremely off-putting.

Any additional comments?

Has Lisa See listened to the narration? Despite the great reviews she has, I would NEVER listen to her narrate again!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

documentary writing

Insights onto the lives of Chinese in the USA. Detailed research. A fascinating story of a family tree. But I really missed Lisa See's enchanting language which she is so good with! Of course, one has to remember that this is more like a documentary work of literature, not a novel.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Why Lisa See does not look Asian!

Yes I always wondered if she was Chinese and now I know that, yes she is. This nonfiction book on the background of See's background is interesting. Not a great new adventure story, but a true untraditional events that transpired starting with the many Chinese brought to the USA to work on the railroad. This isn't one on See's magnificent stories, but her real research on her ancestry is written in her wonderful style. If you can't get enough of See, and have not tried nonfiction, get this!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story! I couldn't stop listening.

If you could sum up On Gold Mountain in three words, what would they be?

Amazing story! Not only was it well told, but I learned so much about the Chinese culture. It gave me a better understanding of what immigrants face coming to our country.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good book. Solid Story.

While at times slow, this story was interesting and tells the true story of a family who lived during such an interesting time. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting history

I enjoy her books. This was a bit long and very detailed bit taught me much about the history of the Chinese in California. Thank goodness for long drives. Not an exciting book but was quite informative.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Ehhh ok

This book was a little repetitive is to me and I didn't find it as exciting as I thought it might be.
I did enjoy how it was sectioned in to years so I could compare what was happening in America during that time
😋

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Bad narration

The Reader is sub par. She didn’t learn how to pronounce the Chinese and Latin words which was irritating. Expected better. Had to hear the whole story so I put up with her.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Engrossing historical fiction

This is such a great story and look into the history of Chinese immigration to the US. Wonderful characters and description of the time period.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

Would you listen to On Gold Mountain again? Why?

I would listen to this again. The scope of the subject matter warrants another listen

What did you like best about this story?

The breadth of the story. The Chinese experience in the US is put into perspective.

Have you listened to any of Kate Reading’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

1 person found this helpful