BookBrowse Reviews Swimming Back to Trout River by Linda Rui Feng

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Swimming Back to Trout River

by Linda Rui Feng

Swimming Back to Trout River by Linda Rui Feng X
Swimming Back to Trout River by Linda Rui Feng
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  • Published:
    May 2021, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer Hon Khalaf
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An uncommon, character-focused immigration story set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution.

Linda Rui Feng's first novel, Swimming Back to Trout River, is a powerful meditation on the ties that bind us within history, geography and community, told through the lens of four primary characters: Cassia, Momo, Junie and Dawn. The strength of the novel doesn't lie in the dramatic events that underpin the characters' lives — the Cultural Revolution, immigration, heartbreaking tragedies and individual struggles — but rather, in the simple presentation of their existences unfolding naturally through interactions with each other and the world.

Feng provides a guide to an "untranslatable" word that encompasses the overall philosophy, theme and effect of this book: yuanfen, which acknowledges an "unknowability in the workings of the universe," implying that there is an "invisible mesh" that loosely binds people and circumstances. It is precisely this unknowable quality that ...

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