Like many classic stories, Brian Leung's novel begins with a journey home. Adele "Addie" Maine is returning to Dire, a Wyoming coal-mining town, forty years after the deadly events that nearly took her life and drove her away without a word to her husband.
Years earlier: Headed West to stay with her brother Tommy, a young and feisty Addie arrives in Wyoming having been convinced along the way that the Chinese who work alongside the white men in the small Wyoming town are half-man, half-beast - devious creatures to be wary of. When Tommy falters at homesteading, the siblings look to the coal mines and Addie comes into close contact with one Chinese man in particular, Wing Lee. The bond between the two is a mere spark at first, hampered by the reality for both that a friendship would be impossible, forbidden, even in a territory where almost everyone is an immigrant.
Together, Addie and Wing harbor a secret. Ultimately Addie must protect Wing's life and fight for what she knows is right, but she still can't find the answers to life's most important questions. It's only as a much older woman, returning to Dire to bid farewell to a friend from decades ago, that Addie comes face-to-face with the man she's certain tried to kill her, and at last confronts the surprises and losses that await at the end of a difficult journey.
Take Me Home is a searing, redemptive novel that explores justice in a time of violence, and the sweeping landscape between friendship and love.
Brian Leung's haunting, lyrical love story is a powerful parable about how someone's personal history can be superseded by the creative machinations of those involved in writing history... In the end, it seems that Leung is reminding us that the stories - both personal and national - that endure are not necessarily the whole truth but simply a version of the storyteller's truth. (Reviewed by Donna Chavez).
Every now and then, a small, quiet, well-crafted novel is just what the doctor ordered... Take Me Home by Brian Leung fits the bill.
Louisville Courier Journal
A sweeping, action-packed novel.
[A] lyrical sophomore novel... Evocative... Leung's subtle, perceptive saga closes on notes both touching and patriotic.
Starred Review. An engaging and beguiling novel about prejudice, relationships and the possibilities of redemption.
Percival Everett, author of Wounded and I Am Not Sidney Poitie Take Me Home is beautiful. The language of Brian Leung's novel is poetic and surprising and yet still manages to capture the coarseness, the beardedness of Rock Springs, Wyoming. It's a smart book that offers an important window into the West and therefore the American story.
Nami Mun, author of Miles from Nowhere Take Me Home is very much about humanity - very much about our need to love, no matter how forbidden. Lovers of history and heroines will want to devour this book.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Sandra H. Take Me Home by Brian Leung Take Me Home is a historical novel about the clash between Chinese workers brought in by the Union Pacific to work in coal mines in Wyoming and the white workers who become convinced they are taking jobs from them and eventually rise up to... Read More
During much of the second half of the 19th century, the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) was able to maintain a monopoly on coal production because it controlled the only means of transportation into the Western territories. Thus it owned and operated all the coalmines, fixed coal prices to its own benefit and was able to establish its own standards - or lack of - for employee treatment and compensation. In 1875, UP cut the piecework rate paid to miners by one-fifth but made no corresponding reduction in prices charged at the Company stores. When the miners went on strike, UP responded by practicing a kind of reverse outsourcing, replacing striking laborers with recently immigrated Chinese laborers who accepted the lower pay.
Indignation and antipathy by White laborers escalated until it erupted on September 2, 1885, when it was rumored that miners in Colorado were receiving a pay raise but those in Rock Springs, Wyoming were not. Welsh and Swedish miners in Rock Springs, most of whom were members of the reportedly militant Knights of Labor rebelled,...
Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history - the internment of American-Japanese families during World War II - Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us about forgiveness and the power of the human heart.
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