Wry humor, lively dialogue, and a compassionate take on being a single woman under a traditional mother's matchmaking thumb enliven this insightful debut.
Ginger Lee has come to New York to be someone--not to be with someone. Yet she's taking too long, according to her mother, who thinks a job is just a paycheck and that the solution to Ginger's problems is a nice professional Korean husband. Ginger could not disagree more, but unable to stand up to her mother, she sets upon a two-pronged plan: She'll sabotage the dates her mother arranges while stepping up her efforts to win a promotion at á la Mode magazine. She is confounded at every turn, however, by men who reject her before she can reject them and by style fiends better practiced in the art of office warfare. Finally free of her prejudices and preconceptions, Ginger finds that only by embracing her mother and her Asian roots will her happiness blossom. In Full Bloom heralds the arrival of a bright talent on today's literary scene.
"Ginger, you there!"
Even for my mother this was a strange way to start a conversation. The ringing telephone had cut my shower short. I secured the towel wrapped around me. "Where else would I be Monday at eight-thirty in the morning?" A mere fashion assistant at À la Mode magazine, I was supposed to be at work in half an hour. But my boss was my best friend from college, and Sam wouldn't be in until eleven.
"Then why you don't answer the phone quickly? I rang and rang! I worry nobody home!" My mother was still shouting. I thought I heard traffic in the background--the same rapid-fire honks that were coming in through the open window. Why was she calling from the street? What was she doing on my street? I spun toward the window, my wet hair whipping me in the face. There, directly below on the sidewalk, was her black head and bright green Chanel suit.
"Mom? Why aren't you in Milwaukee? Did something happen? Is something wrong?"
If you liked In Full Bloom, try these:
Powerfully evoking the contemporary American family in all its fragility and strength, Gish Jen has given us her most exuberant and accomplished novel about the new "half-half" American family.
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Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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