It took me a while to finish reading this novel. I was interrupted by other life responsibilities. But, it is not as compelling a read as many of the less "literary" novels by which I often am consumed. That doesn't mean I value it less. Still, I was haunted by the book and kept checking it out from the library (3 different times!). I definitely learned a great deal about immigrant lives and cultural differences. As a Chinese-American Chang is uniquely qualified to write about the intricate and complex social and emotional currents immigrants and second-generation citizens face. Add to that the personal connection I have to the mid-western United States and I'm "sold!"
Chang is the director of the Iowa Writer's Workshop (the first woman and first Asian American to serve in that capacity). The novel clearly proves she has the "writer's credentials" to fill such a post.
The book tells the story of three Chinese-American brothers and their interactions with a Wisconsin community, their cultural heritage, and their parents. Love, money, passion, and revenge all come into play.