The Distant Land of My Father

The Distant Land of My Father

A Novel of Shanghai

Book - 2001
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For Anna, the narrator of Bo Caldwell's richly lyrical and vivid first novel, growing up in the magical world of Shanghai in the 1930s and 1940s creates a special bond between her and her father. He is the son of missionaries, a smuggler, and a millionaire who leads a charmed but secretive life. When the family flees to Los Angeles in the face of the Japanese occupation, he chooses to remain, believing his connections and luck will keep him safe.

He's wrong. He survives, only to again choose Shanghai over his family during the Second World War. Anna and her father reconnect late in his life, when she finally has a family of her own, but it is only when she discovers his extensive journals that she is able to fully understand him and the reasons for his absences. With the intensity and appeal of When We Were Orphans, also set in Shanghai at the same time, The Distant Land of My Father tells a moving and unforgettable story about a mostunusual father-daughter relationship.

Publisher: San Francisco : Chronicle Books, 2001.
ISBN: 9780811832403
Branch Call Number: F Cald
Characteristics: 369 p. ; 21 cm.


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Feb 16, 2013

This memoir provided good historical perspective on Shanghai and its evolution from pre-WW II to communism through the eyes of a young girl as she grows into adulthood. I liked the writing style and the historical details provided. In addition, the relationship dynamic of a husband who is unable/unwilling to leave Shanghai and separates himself from his family provides depth to the main characters. This would be a good book club book and does include discussion questions in the edition I read.


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