By Nell Freudenberger
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780060758721, 464pp.)
Publication Date: September 2007
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From the PEN/Malamud Award-winning author of Lucky Girls comes an intricately woven novel about secrets, love, art, identity, and the shining chaos of every day American life.
Yuan Zhao, a celebrated Chinese performance artist and political dissident, has accepted a one-year artist's residency in Los Angeles. He is to be a Visiting Scholar at the St. Anselm's School for Girls, teaching advanced art, and hosted by one of the school's most devoted families: the wealthy if dysfunctional Traverses. The Traverses are too preoccupied with their own problems to pay their foreign guest too much attention, and the dissident is delighted to be left alone—his past links with radical movements give him good reason to avoid careful scrutiny. The trouble starts when he and his American hosts begin to view one another with clearer eyes.