ECW. Aug. 2022. 9:27 hrs. ISBN 9781773059730. $22.99. F
Born to parents of mixed Chinese ancestry, Lily lives in the small mining town of Sparwood, British Columbia. Her mother, Swee Hua, never quite adjusts to Canadian life and speaks longingly of her home in Malaysia, where she, along with many other ethnic Chinese, lived and worked, even though they were denied citizenship. When Lily is 11 years old, Swee Hua, who has become ever more despondent and homesick, leaves her family and never returns. Twenty years later, Lily, now a mother herself, travels to Malaysia, hoping to understand the difficulties of her mother’s unanchored life—always different, and never truly home. Jennifer Hui’s narration of Liew’s ethereal debut is perfectly attuned to the thoughtful tone of the book. With careful characterizations and a measured pace, she brings out the elegance of Liew’s words and illuminates the pain and longing felt by Lily and her extended family. Chinese expressions and exclamations, authentically communicated by Hui, are woven within, reminding listeners of the multilayered nature of the language and the varied experiences of the Chinese people.
VERDICT A meditation on identity, home, and motherhood, this exquisite audio is not to be missed. Recommend to readers of Pik-Shuen Fung’s Ghost Forest or Lisa Ko’s The Leavers.
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