Take Me Home
By Brian Leung
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780061769078, 304pp.)
Publication Date: October 2010
Like many classic stories, Brian Leungs new novel begins with a journey home. Adele Addie Maine is returning to Dire, a Wyoming coal-mining town, forty years after the deadly events that nearly took her life and drove her away without a word to her husband.
Years earlier: Headed West to stay with her brother Tommy, a young and feisty Addie arrives in Wyoming having been convinced along the way that the Chinese who work alongside the white men in the small Wyoming town are half-man, half-beastdevious creatures to be wary of. When Tommy falters at homesteading, the siblings look to the coal mines and Addie comes into close contact with one Chinese man in particular, Wing Lee. The bond between the two is a mere spark at first, hampered by the reality for both that a friendship would be impossible, forbidden, even in a territory where almost everyone is an immigrant.
Together, Addie and Wing harbor a secret. Ultimately Addie must protect Wings life and fight for what she knows is right, but she still cant find the answers to lifes most important questions. Its only as a much older woman, returning to Dire to bid farewell to a friend from decades ago, that Addie comes face-to-face with the man shes certain tried to kill her, and at last confronts the surprises and losses that await at the end of a difficult journey.
Take Me Home is a searing, redemptive novel that explores justice in a time of violence, and the sweeping landscape between friendship and love.
Brian Leung is the author of the novel Lost Men. His short-story collection, World Famous Love Acts, won the Asian American Literary Award and the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. Born and raised in San Diego County, he currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where he is the Director of Creative Writing at the University of Louisville.
- The concept of "home" appears often in this story—the home that Tommy builds, Wing being in foreign territory, and Addie being uncertain "whether folks came to Wyoming Territory to live or to die." How do you think "home" evolves for Addie and Wing as the novel progresses? Which character does the title speak to?
“Brian Leung’s Take Me Home is powerfully imagined. . . . [His] pristine prose recounts a time of tough women dealing with the loneliness of the Wyoming plains and the unforgiving landscape of an 1880s coal-mining town, a time when we were all immigrants in search of a place we could call home.”
-Helena María Viramontes, author of Their Dogs Came With Them and Under The Feet of Jesus
“The coal mine culture of Wyoming comes alive in this story of forbidden friendship.”
“[Leung] spins a fascinating tale of tough women confronting loneliness, prejudice, and forbidden love.”
“Leung uses the discord between whites and Asians in the West of the 1880s to give his novel both depth and a compelling twist.”
“A fascinating depiction of life, love, and racial strife in the mining camps of the 19th-century American West. . . . In this work of insight and sensitivity, Leung succinctly portrays how Chinese miners of the era were resented and what happened to people who crossed the racial barrier.”
“Brian Leung captures the haunting landscape, harsh conditions, and abundant racism of late 19th century Wyoming, and he also leaves the reader with the hope that, while amends can never be made for past cruelties, the future may be somewhat brighter.”
-Historical Novels Review
“A powerful story about friendship, love, and eventual triumph, set against the dramatic backdrop of 1880s Wyoming. It is thought-provoking, crisply written, and compulsively readable.”
-The Tucson Citizen
“The story is set in 1880s Wyoming, and Leung has re-created the warp and woof of the territory with faithful clarity. . . . An indelible picture of the Wyoming Territory and two unlikely lovers.”
“Heartfelt. . . . Leung’s writing is so clear and lovely and his characters are so well-realized . . . The character of Wing speaks eloquently for thousands of Chinese miners whose voices are lost to history.”
-Dallas Morning News
“Take Me Home is very much about humanity--very much about our need to love, no matter how forbidden. Lovers of history and heroines will want to devour this book.”
-Nami Mun, author of Miles from Nowhere
“A sweeping, action-packed novel.”
-Louisville Courier Journal
“Take Me Home is a riveting novel of two heroic people attempting to transcend the prejudices of their time and place. Through Leung’s skillful artistry and empathy, we see the worst aspects of humanity, but we also see the best.”
-Ron Rash, author of Burning Bright and Serena
“Every now and then, a small, quiet, well-crafted novel is just what the doctor ordered. . . . Take Me Home by Brian Leung fits the bill.”
“An engaging and beguiling novel about prejudice, relationships and the possibilities of redemption.”
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[A] lyrical sophomore novel . . . . Evocative . . . . Leung’s subtle, perceptive saga closes on notes both touching and patriotic.”
“Take Me Home is beautiful. The language of Brian Leung’s novel is poetic and surprising and yet still manages to capture the coarseness, the beardedness of Rock Springs, Wyoming. It’s a smart book that offers an important window into the West and therefore the American story.”
-Percival Everett, author of Wounded and I Am Not Sidney Poitier
“This beautiful novel is about forbidden friendships, secrets kept, and one woman’s quest to stay alive.”
“Brian Leung’s exquisitely crafted novel Take Me Home is a story of the Old West for investigative readers, a necessary and cautionary tale spun from the lessons of real history. . . . [His] lyric gifts as a novelist bring the deftly plotted story alive.”
“Leung wisely narrows his plot into a tightly woven and unusual love story. . . . [His] writing, in fact, has a train-like rhythm that will keep any reader turning the page to see what the journey home looks like.”
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