“Lee…opens his first nonfiction work with the distressing story of his mother Da-tsien’s foot-binding in 1909 China. The women about to break the child’s toes whisper terms of endearment. Suddenly, as often happens in this rewarding, ambitious memoir, a dramatic turn pushes Da-tsien’s life in an unexpected direction: she’s rescued….[Lee’s] writing is a constant pleasure of vibrant detail and effective dialogue, from his retelling of his parents’ interactions with the underworld gangsters in 1920s Shanghai to his depiction of their enthrallment with Katharine Hepburn, which eventually leads them to America. Lee’s most remarkable skills, however, are his ability to deftly move between the personalities of his family tree and the family’s intimate moments, and his observations of Chinese cultural history.”
“Gus Lee brings to his first work of nonfiction the consummate storytelling skills which have always delighted us in his critically acclaimed novels. I promise that you will be captivated by this epic story of two families who epitomize all that is rich and varied in Chinese culture.”—Ron Bass, screenwriter:
The Joy Luck Club and Rain Man
From the Hardcover edition.