The Love Wife

By Gish Jen
(Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9781400076512, 379pp.)

Publication Date: October 11, 2005

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Description

From the massively talented Gish Jen comes a barbed, moving, and stylistically dazzling new novel about the elusive nature of kinship. The Wongs describe themselves as a “half half” family, but the actual fractions are more complicated, given Carnegie’s Chinese heritage, his wife Blondie’s WASP background, and the various ethnic permutations of their adopted and biological children. Into this new American family comes a volatile new member.Her name is Lanlan. She is Carnegie’s Mainland Chinese relative, a tough, surprisingly lovely survivor of the Cultural Revolution, who comes courtesy of Carnegie’s mother’s will. Is Lanlan a very good nanny, a heartless climber, or a posthumous gift from a formidable mother who never stopped wanting her son to marry a nice Chinese girl? Rich in insight, buoyed by humor, The Love Wife is a hugely satisfying work.




About the Author
Gish Jen is a writer living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the author of four novels, including Typical American and Mona in the Promised Land. Her most recent novel is World and Town.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. At the beginning of the novel, Blondie says, "At least I had my family. Every happy family has its innocence. I suppose, looking back, this was ours." Is her belief in the sanctity of the family shared by the others? In what ways does her upbringing and her position within the Bailey fam­ily influence her point of view?




Praise For The Love Wife

“A big story: a story about families and identity and race and the American Dream. . . . Jen’s most ambitious and emotionally ample work yet.” –The New York Times“Vibrant, vital. . . . Wise and compassionate, The Love Wife unflinchingly probes the ties that bind–and separate–people, races and nations.” –People“A feast of gab, of proclamation and rebuttal, some of the quirkiest, funniest, most intelligent fictional talk in years.” –Newsday“A lush, funny, yet deeply moving novel of family and identity, a wondrous swoosh of a story.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer

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