Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cloud Mountain by A.E. Liu


As one Amazon reader put it: "Good enough to make you wish it were better."

Another China story, set in some of the same places in in part of the time-frame of Shanghi Girls by Lisa See, Cloud Mountain is the story of a marraige between Chinese revolutionary Paul Liang and his white American wife, Hope, that begins at the University of California, Berkley, in 1906 and ends during World War II. I found the book compelling enough to overlook an unnecessary mention of a man not being marriage material and to ignore Hope's supposing that a violent sex act [mercifully not described in any real detail] was done by a Jesuit Priest. (I cannot say how tired I am of this sort of P.C.-editing, that does not ring true to the story. The whole Catholic Church scene, while believable in a typical teenager questioning, exploring vein, did not need that ending!} I also ignored the no-consequences to abortion (woman mercifully survives life-threatening post-abortion infection, etc, to eventually marry and have a child at the "right" time). Why did I ignore these? They were blessedly brief "blips" in an otherwise very compelling story. I would recommend this those who like an interesting love story and appreciate history. I cannot, however, say if the historical details are accurate, for I am very new to Chinese history. On the whole this was a good to excellent novel.

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