City of Tranquil Light

By Bo Caldwell
(Henry Holt and Co., Hardcover, 9780805092288, 304pp.)

Publication Date: September 28, 2010

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“Not since Marilynne Robinson's Gilead have I read a novel that could bring the power of faith to the printed page so beautifully. Based on the stories of her grandparents' missionary years in China, from 1908 to 1933, Caldwell's narrative makes one honor her characters, their bravery, their dedication, and the love they felt for the people and the land that was not their own.”
-- Marian Nielsen, Orinda Books, Orinda, CA


Description

"What ardent, dazzling souls emerge from these American missionaries in China . . . A beautiful, searing book that leaves an indelible presence in the mind." —Patricia Hampl, author of The Florist's Daughter

Will Kiehn is seemingly destined for life as a humble farmer in the Midwest when, having felt a call from God, he travels to the vast North China Plain in the early twentieth-century. There he is surprised by love and weds a strong and determined fellow missionary, Katherine. They soon find themselves witnesses to the crumbling of a more than two-thousand-year-old dynasty that plunges the country into decades of civil war. As the couple works to improve the lives of the people of Kuang P'ing Ch'eng— City of Tranquil Light, a place they come to love—and face incredible hardship, will their faith and relationship be enough to sustain them?

Told through Will and Katherine's alternating viewpoints—and inspired by the lives of the author's maternal grandparents—City of Tranquil Light is a tender and elegiac portrait of a young marriage set against the backdrop of the shifting face of a beautiful but torn nation. A deeply spiritual book, it shows how those who work to teach others often have the most to learn, and is further evidence that Bo Caldwell writes "vividly and with great historical perspective" (San Jose Mercury News).




About the Author

Bo Caldwell is the author of the national bestseller The Distant Land of My Father. Her short fiction has been published in Ploughshares, Story, Epoch, and other literary journals. A former Stegner Fellow in Creative Writing at Stanford University, she lives in Northern California with her husband, novelist Ron Hansen.

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