This book is about Olivia, half Chinese and half American, who grew up in San Francisco, California. When she was younger, she met her half-sister, Kwan, who came straight from China. Kwan introduces her Chinese heritage, memories, and history through her own eyes. Olivia explains in the book, “My sister Kwan believes she has Yin eyes. She sees those who have died and now dwell in the World of Yin…” Olivia, a photographer, is now in her mid-30s is on the verge of getting a divorce with her husband Simon, a writer. In the most unexpected situations, the three of them are flown back to China where they learn so much more than they anticipated.
Olivia’s character was not as interesting to me as I would have liked although I found Kwan to be one of the most memorable. The story, ending, and the twists themselves were interesting enough, especially with the supernatural twist. Kwan’s character was also enough to hold the whole thing together. And although the ending was less than satisfactory, this novel clearly showed Amy Tan’s skill and artistry with her craft. I could read her prose and her narratives all day. That being said, if you are a fan of the author, check this out. If not, and this is your first Tan book, read The Joy Luck Club first. That book won’t be your last of hers.