World and Town

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Gish Jen

I loved the characters in this story.  After the deaths of both her husband and her best friend, Hatty Kong has retired to a small Vermont town where she once lived.  She is seeking solace and the chance to build a new life. Her new neighbors are Cambodian refugees. They, too, are seeking solace away from the violence of gangs in the big city and the violent memories from Cambodia.  Hatty grew up in China, the daughter of an American missionary mother and a Chinese father.  As a teenager, she was sent alone to the U.S. to escape the Japanese occupation of China.  There is grief and tragedy, but the story is not sentimental.  In fact, humor helps temper the conflicts on many levels that take on the personal issues of grief, aging, loneliness, death, guilt, regret and the societal issues of immigration, religious fanaticism, small town pettiness and  economic challenges.  Jen handles the complexity of these with great skill. Check our catalog!

Kathleen Zaenger, Administration

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