The Distant Land of My Father
By Bo Caldwell
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780156027137, 400pp.)
Publication Date: September 2002
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Anna, the narrator of this riveting first novel, lives in a storybook world: exotic pre- World War II Shanghai, with handsome young parents, wealth, and comfort. Her father, the son of missionaries, leads a charmed and secretive life, though his greatest joy is sharing his beloved city with his only daughter. Yet when Anna and her mother flee Japanese-occupied Shanghai to return to California, he stays behind, believing his connections and a little bit of luck will keep him safe.
Through Anna's memories and her father's journals we learn of his fall from charismatic millionaire to tortured prisoner, in a story of betrayal and reconciliation that spans two continents. The Distant Land of My Father, a breathtaking and richly lyrical debut, unfolds to reveal an enduring family love through tragic circumstances.
Bo Caldwell has published short stories in numerous literary magazines. Her nonfiction writing includes a long-running series of personal essays in the Washington Post Magazine. She is a former Stegner Fellow in creative writing at Stanford University, and now lives in Northern California with her husband, novelist Ron Hansen, and her two children.
PRAISE FOR THE DISTANT LAND OF MY FATHER
"A marvelous story, straightforward without being prosaic, full of momentum yet complex and unpredictable."--Los Angeles Times
"For everyone who has ever felt himself in exile from any beloved place, or a time that can never return."--Carolyn See, The Washington Post Book World
"Remarkable . . . A moving tale of love and the possibility of forgiveness."--Library Journal