Dutton. Jul. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780593184455. $27. F
Wong’s second novel (after Diamond Head) takes readers into the lives of a biracial Chinese American family headed by Hank and Karen Brighton, who (with help from daughters Morgan and Riley) run a successful business that boasts seven locations between Oregon and New York. Spanning the years 2006 to 2010, the novel focuses primarily on the relationships among members of the Brighton family, especially the two sisters, with Riley often feeling overshadowed by her older sister. When tragedy strikes the Brightons, Riley and James (Morgan’s former boyfriend) begin to sell counterfeit designer handbags to garner enough money to travel the world together, living judiciously so that they can stay abroad for about nine months. Upon returning to New York, Riley finds both her parents’ marriage and their business unraveling and learns of a dark and shocking secret.
VERDICT True to its title, Wong’s overarching account of one family’s business is told with beautiful imagery but reveals individual pieces that show how things are not what they appear to be. This story of people, culture, and lifestyles will be appreciated by readers who enjoy novels involving families and their secrets, like Celeste Ng’s Something I Never Told You and Jean Kwok’s Searching for Sylvie Lee.
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