Monkey Hunting (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
3 journalers for this copy...
The Chinese-Cuban experience is plumbed in this graceful third novel by Garcia (Dreaming in Cuban; The Aguero Sisters), encompassing five far-flung generations, four countries and two tumultuous centuries. Farm boy Chen Pan leaves his native China in 1857, dreaming of the riches awaiting him in mysterious Cuba. Instead, he is obliged to work on a sugarcane plantation, subjected to the atrocities of forced servitude in a country that is not his own and in which he is viewed with suspicion. He eventually manages to escape and creates a life for himself beyond his wildest dreams, as a successful small-business owner, beloved husband and doting father. Becoming almost more Cuban than Chinese, he falls in love with Lucrecia, a former slave. His mixed-blood descendants, scattered between Cuba and China, struggle to find their place in a world that strives to keep its ethnic and geographical boundaries distinct. Chen Fang, a granddaughter raised as a boy in China, is a remarkable woman who manages to get an education and become a teacher, eventually landing in one of Mao's appalling prisons in 1970 Shanghai. As a teenager, great-grandson Domingo Chen departs Cuba for New York with his father and faces the same hostility and racism there that Chen Pan dealt with in mid-19th-century Havana. Domingo's journey from Cuba to New York then Vietnam is told in unsparing detail, bringing the novel full circle. Though Garcia ranges farther afield here than in previous works, her prose is as tight and polished as ever. The book is rather short for its span, and a bit more development of some characters-particularly Chen Fang-would have been welcome, but that is a mere quibble. Garcia's novel is a richly patterned mini-epic, a moving chorus of distinct voices.
reserving for the Passport to the World VBB round 3
Nonetheless, this is a relatively short novel, and she tried to make it epic including five generations of the family, as well as encompassing historic events such as Cuban Independence War, WWII and the cultural revolution. Inevitably, this results in very fragmented and limited narration for most characters, leaving me feeling not very engaged with them and unsatisfied with the many gaps in between.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Hi! How wonderful you've found one of my books! Thank you so much for checking out the journal. I would really appreciate if you can take a moment to let me know you have it now. Trust me, it'll totally make my day to hear from one of my "wild" books.
Bookcrossing is a wonderful online community of book lovers dedicated to sharing books with each other and the world at large. We are also curious to see how far and wide our books can travel. I would appreciate if you can make a journal entry on this book so we know where the book has been. You don't have to set up an account.
Feel free to keep this book, return it to where you found it, or pass it on to the next reader. If you sign up as a member, you will hear from the book as it travels and gets journaled. Feel free to explore the BookCrossing site, and visit our forum to meet other booklovers. Membership is confidential, free, and spam-free. Happy reading!