Looking to reconnect with their ancestral home and with one another, three generations of women tour mainland China on a journey that will change their family forever.
A stunning debut, A Thread of Sky is the story of a family of women and the powerful thread that binds their lives. In following the paths chosen by six fiercely independent women, A Thread of Sky explores the terrain we must travel to recognize the strength and vulnerability of those closest to us.
When her husband of thirty years is killed in a devastating accident, Irene Shen and her three daughters are set adrift. Nora, the eldest, retreats into her high-powered New York job and a troubled relationship. Kay, the headstrong middle child, escapes to China to learn the language and heritage of her parents. Sophie, the sensitive and artistic youngest, is trapped at home until college, increasingly estranged from her family - and herself. Terrified of being left alone with her grief, Irene plans a tour of mainland China's must sees, reuniting three generations of women - her three daughters, her distant poet sister, and her formidable eighty-year-old mother - in a desperate attempt to heal her fractured family.
If only it was so easy. Each woman arrives bearing secrets big and small, and as they travel - visiting untouched sections of the Great Wall and the seedy bars of Shanghai, the beautiful ancient temples and cold, modern shopping emporiums - they begin to wonder if they will ever find the China they seek, the one their family fled long ago.
Over days and miles they slowly find their way toward a new understanding of themselves, of one another, and of the vast complexity of their homeland, only to have their new bonds tested as never before when the darkest, most carefully guarded secret of all tumbles to the surface and threatens to tear their family apart forever. A Thread of Sky is a beautifully written and deeply haunting story about love and sacrifice, history and memory, sisterhood and motherhood, and the connections that endure.
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"With its mother-daughter conflicts, a feminist message, and an exploration of Chinese roots, this novel will appeal to fans of Amy Tan as well as readers who generally enjoy ... Julia Alvarez, Gish Jen, and Gus Lee" - Library Journal
"Fei stakes a claim in Amy Tan territory with this satisfying tale." - Booklist
"A Thread of Sky is a remarkable debut by a gifted young novelist. Deanna Fei is an accomplished writer with keen insight into cross-cultural Chinese-American rootlessness and the ties that bind women of several generations. A wonderful book!" - Anita Shreve, author of A Change in Altitude
"A Thread of Sky is a lyrical journey through the heart of contemporary China, and the family of women who make the pilgrimage across these pages are as complicated, broad-ranging, and fascinating as the country itself. Deanna Fei is one to watch." - Ann Patchett, author of Run and Bel Canto
"The story unfurls smoothly, yet never really touches the heart." - Publishers Weekly
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Deanna Fei was born in Flushing, New York, and has lived in Beijing and Shanghai, China. A graduate of Amherst College and the Iowa Writers Workshop, she has received a Fulbright grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, and a Chinese cultural scholarship, among other awards. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she teaches in public schools and is at work on her second novel. Visit Deanna at www.deannafei.com
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