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Paper Names

A Novel

by Susie Luo

Paper Names by Susie Luo X
Paper Names by Susie Luo
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There are currently 20 member reviews
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  • Sonia F. (Freehold, NJ)
    An immigrant experience
    We are our stories. And when it comes to an immigrant story, we all have one to tell. This compelling story had me hooked from the first sentence. Spoiler alert- I am a sucker for a good immigrant story.
    Set in the big Apple- New York and China , Susie Luo debut novel explains what it means to be other, what it means to be stereotyped because of how you look, what it means to fit in, what it means to be a first generation American and having to appease an old school Chinese father in America who wants to do everything in his power to make you have a better life, to make you attain that elusive American dream.
    Told from three perspectives with engaging rounded characters; Tony, Chinese born engineer who is now a doorman in Manhattan, his daughter Tammy who wishes he was more American and then there is Oliver, white , handsome and dark family secrets. Their lives collide and intertwine like one would not imagine and the effects are devastating.
    "But for all his attempts to control me, what he also did was create a person who was capable of making hard decisions of breaking the cage itself".
    " I had not realized until his death that he had also caged me with his dreams". Ah!! The long shadows of parents and their expectations when when is confronted with cultural bonds and duties. A compelling evocative read that you recognize yourself or someone you know on these pages. I unequivocally recommend this novel. It will stay with me forever. I wonder what Tammy is up to now. I wonder if she found a space to call home.
  • Sandra O. (Alexandria, VA)
    Better than Number One
    Paper Names is a winner of a novel! It begins slowly and builds to a full crescendo!

    The characters are perfectly drawn and though the story begins in New York about an immigrant family from China, it weaves back and forth though the family's lifetime. I personally felt each high and low as the characters moved through their lives. It also involves an American lawyer who helps them in many ways but has his own dark secret. The story will remain with you. Kudos to the author!
  • Judy G. Greenbrae, CA.
    Paper Names
    Paper Names is a novel that asks--in engaging, absorbing and entertaining ways--big questions. Who are we and what shapes us? Is it our family heritage, or is it the world we move through, be it familiar or new? Are we the title of our jobs? What is justice? This may make the novel sound like heavy lifting, but it is anything but. Susie Luo writes so gracefully that it is surprising to learn this is her first novel.
    The story is told through three points of view. Tony Zhang, once an engineer in China who sought a better life for his family, is now a doorman in New York. His daughter Tammy, whom we follow from age nine to adulthood, deals with her family's old world ways and her own new world hopes. The third story is Oliver Wright's. He's a charming lawyer with everything going for him except a dark family secret. A vicious street crime brings all three people and stories together.
    There are no saints or true villains in these pages, only complicated, real people trying to find their way and sometimes tripping up.
    I heartily recommend this book and will definitely read whatever Susie Luo decides to write next.
  • Diane S. (El Paso, TX)
    Beautifully Written Story
    "Paper Names" is a beautifully written story that focuses on three characters: Tony, an immigrant from China; his daughter, Tammy, a first-generation American; and Oliver, an American attorney, who are thrown together as a result of a random act of violence. The story is told from the three characters' perspectives and highlights various years in their lives. There is a lot going on: immigrants' struggles, family relationships, family dysfunction, coming of age, family secrets, and ultimately, what love really means. The characters' stories are so compelling that I found myself reading well into the night. Because it would generate a lively discussion, "Paper Names" would be an excellent choice for a book club.
  • Susan M. (New Holland, PA)
    Paper Names
    Paper Names is an exceptionally well written novel that held my interest throughout. The story revolves around a Chinese immigrant family who left their home and jobs in China in hopes of a better life in the US. However Tony, the father sacrifices his good job as an engineer to serve as a doorman for an upscale hotel. He is declared a hero when he saves a resident from a violent attack.

    The reader also follows his daughter, Tammy from the age of 9 until her graduation from Harvard and beyond. A lawyer named Oliver is another key figure in the story. The characters are well drawn and there's a surprise ending that I didn't see coming.

    I would recommend this book to any reader who might enjoy an interesting fictional account of what immigrants to this country experience.
  • Laurie F. (Brookline, MA)
    A Fabulous Debut Novel
    A wonderful story of a Chinese family's journey as immigrants to America. We follow Tony, Kim, and their daughter Tammy (their Americanized names of course) through the difficulties of being a professional in your home country and then having to start from scratch in America assuming you eventually reach your dreams. This novel reveals through hard work, unique relationships, and determination you can eventually get there - though there are consequences. I recommend you read this book to find out!
  • Laura D. (Newmarket, NH)
    Engaging Debut
    I loved everything about this book! It was an engaging story, revealed through the perspectives of three characters within four decades. The book's non-linear time line worked wonderfully, with each chapter adding dimension to the characters and story line, without ever being disorienting.The themes of identity, family, expectation, and loyalty provided emotional depth to the story. The ending caught me by surprise, but was a fitting one. Once you start reading, you will find excuses to keep reading the next chapter. I hope the author continues writing novels!
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