Saturday, March 6, 2010


I had this book recommended to me by a co-worker about six months ago but just finally got to it at in my reading list. I find myself drawn to books in an Asian setting and with those culturally strong characters, but sometimes they are a little heavy reading, and that was part of my hesitation. That hesitation was not necessary.

This is the story about a man who is in an arranged marriage, as part of the culture, but it has been a loveless marriage without any compatability or strengthening the relationship at all. He works as a doctor in a hospital in the city and is only home for about ten days a year, but for years on end he has been trying to convince his wife to give him a divorce because he has found a woman who he loves in the city. Each year his wife says she will grant it, but then changes her mind when they get in front of the court, and the woman who he loves in the city keeps waiting.

It is intriguing how well the title fits this book. I know that people say there are titles that really are suitable for the book, but this title takes on several different meanings throughout the book. This book is a fascinating look at the Chinese culture in the 1960's and into the 1970's, with the social and assumed behavioral regulations concerning appropriate relationships, actions, and court system. There are really three main characters, and each one, at different points, tugged on my heart strings. The plot isn't really complex, and there aren't really twists - it is the characters who drive the story along. This was actually quite an easy read, but it is an adult book as there are some scenes and elements of discussion that just wouldn't be appropriate for teens. If you have an interest in the Chinese culture or enjoy a well-written novel, give this one a shot.

No comments: