Title: A Thread of Sky
Author: Deanna Fei
Publisher: Penguin; Reprint edition
Publication Date: March 29, 2011
Paperback: 368 pages
When her husband of thirty years is killed, Irene Shen and her three daughters are set adrift. In a desperate attempt to heal her fractured family, Irene plans a tour of mainland China, reuniting three generations of women-her fiercely independent daughters, her distant poet sister, and her formidable eighty-year-old mother. But each woman bears secrets big and small, and just as they begin to reconnect, the most carefully guarded secret of all threatens to tear them apart forever. Depicting a China at once timeless and ever changing, A Thread of Sky is a beautifully written story of love and sacrifice, history and memory, sisterhood and motherhood, and the connections that endure.
A Thread of Sky by Deanna Fei is a beautifully woven story of three generations of women seeking Jia (family, house, home) and belonging. Irene rang in the New Year alone until her sister Susan phoned from Hong Kong, prompting Irene to make plans for her three daughters, Nora, Kay, and Sophie, along with her sister Susan, and their mother Lin Yulan to take a two week tour of mainland China, a vacation each and every family member is opposed to, for various reasons. Irene, widowed and about to be an empty nester, is trying to bring her family together. Her oldest daughter, Nora, has commitment issues, Kay is currently living in China and trying to find the Chinese in her, while Sophie cannot wait to leave for college, questions everything, and has an eating disorder. Susan lives in Hong Kong and appears to be the most content, while Lin Yulan has been rather isolated from the family and only recently has had contact with one of her granddaughters, Kay, who was thrilled to learn Lin Yulan had been a revolutionary in Guangdong Province, involved in women’s rights and the Nationalist movement during the Japanese occupation of China. A Thread of Sky speaks of the complexities of families, the struggles faced by each generation, and the regrets and secrets contained in families. All six women narrate the story and the reader is able to gather the true essence of each character. Deanne Fei’s writing is lovely and her debut speaks quite well of family relationships, especially those between mothers and daughters and amongst sisters. I would recommend A Thread of Sky to anyone who enjoys well-written fiction and stories about the complexities of families. I believe A Thread of Sky would make for an excellent discussion group book.
Deanna Fei was born in Flushing, New York, and has lived in Beijing and Shanghai. 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.
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I received a complimentary copy of A Thread of Sky by Deanna Fei from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.