A Thread of Sky (TLC Tour Review)

April 29, 2011

Book cover for "A Thread of Sky" by Deanna Fei.Title: A Thread of Sky

Author: Deanna Fei

Publication Year: 2011

Pages: 368

Genre: Fiction

Source: Review copy from the publisher, for TLC Tours

From the cover:

Looking to reconnect with their ancestral home and with one another, three generations of women tour mainland China on a journey that will change their family forever. A stunning debut, A Thread of Sky is the story of a family of women and the powerful thread that binds their lives. In following the paths chosen by six fiercely independent women, A Thread of Sky explores the terrain we must travel to recognize the strength and vulnerability of those closest to us.

When her husband of thirty years is killed in a devastating accident, Irene Shen and her three daughters are set adrift. Nora, the eldest, retreats into her high-powered New York job and a troubled relationship. Kay, the headstrong middle child, escapes to China to learn the language and heritage of her parents. Sophie, the sensitive and artistic youngest, is trapped at home until college, increasingly estranged from her family-and herself. Terrified of being left alone with her grief, Irene plans a tour of mainland China’s must sees, reuniting three generations of women-her three daughters, her distant poet sister, and her formidable eighty-year-old mother-in a desperate attempt to heal her fractured family.

If only it was so easy. Each woman arrives bearing secrets big and small, and as they travel-visiting untouched sections of the Great Wall and the seedy bars of Shanghai, the beautiful ancient temples and cold, modern shopping emporiums-they begin to wonder if they will ever find the China they seek, the one their family fled long ago.

Over days and miles they slowly find their way toward a new understanding of themselves, of one another, and of the vast complexity of their homeland, only to have their new bonds tested as never before when the darkest, most carefully guarded secret of all tumbles to the surface and threatens to tear their family apart forever. A Thread of Sky is a beautifully written and deeply haunting story about love and sacrifice, history and memory, sisterhood and motherhood, and the connections that endure.

This book was so great that I don’t even think I can do it justice.

Right from the beginning of A Thread of Sky, you can tell that there are some serious family issues going on with these women. There’s sex, lies, and videotape pictures galore. Every character has at least one major secret that they’re keeping from the rest, and they’re almost all doozies.

Seriously.

The idea of the tour of their “homeland” – China – is an interesting device, not usually essential to the overall arc of the story, but still interesting and relevant as they move around the country and progress in their relationships with themselves and each other. And it’s great to see the different ways that the individual women react to and interact with the “new” China – tourism, historical sites, history, and even food bring out little tidbits about the women.

I don’t want to say too much more, because I don’t want to give much away. What I do want to leave you with, though, is this: A Thread of Sky is a fabulously conceived, well-written, and extremely intricate novel. It knocked my socks off and left me wishing it didn’t end.

Rating:

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3 Comments

  • Meg @ A Bookish Affair April 30, 2011 at 9:01 am

    This book sounds so good. I just added it to my TBR list. I love family stories like this. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours April 30, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    “This book was so great that I don’t even think I can do it justice.” I think you could have stopped your review right there – that’s all you had to say to convince me to read this one. LOL

    Thanks so much for being on the tour. I’m thrilled the book was such a hit with you!

  • Colleen May 6, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    I thought this book was great too and also felt like it was hard to do it justice in my review.

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