Comments: 5
What a pity. I probably would have disliked the same things about it that you did, though the setting sounds mouthwatering. And, yes. Obviously I can only speak from the tiny fractional things I see, but in Germany, too, I've yet to encounter Chinese who speak German to each other unless they're in company where that would be considered the common language of conversation. (I mean, let's face it, isn't that how we all behave?!) Ditto for mixed families -- my massage therapist is Chinese (born and bred; came to Germany when she married a German) ... she's fluent in German but most definitely speaks Chinese to her daughters when they call her or stop by her office and they're discussing private things.
Ani's Book Abyss 2 weeks ago
Yeah. I kept wondering if she was actually showing her characters speaking to each other in English so that she wouldn't have to keep narrating that someone was speaking in Chinese. Or if maybe they really WERE speaking in Chinese, but it wasn't noted that way. I'm not sure, but the feeling I got from it was that everyone was speaking English to everyone all the time.

Although, for all I know, maybe in that little Chinese community that the author grew up in, they DID speak mainly in English. It wouldn't be completely improbable. It just seems less likely from my own experiences--living in a city where the Asian population isn't really that big (no concentrations of Chinatowns or Asian communities), there's always a big mix in languages, going back and forth from Chinese to English, or Vietnamese to English, in the breath of one conversation, or even in one sentence.
That's the vibe I'm getting from other Asian American writers, too (Amy Tan comes to mind, whose books -- or their American parts -- are set in San Francisco), and it's probably the one thing I've always taken as a given.
BrokenTune 2 weeks ago
I love your review, but would have had similar problems with the book, too. Especially the parts where the investigation is just cringe-worthy and where it just seems like the interaction between characters is forced, such as the whole conversing in English-all-the-time issue. Chinese or any other group, who even does that?
Ani's Book Abyss 2 weeks ago
Thanks! I really DID enjoy this book, and hope that the next book shows a bit more care for the investigation. I could probably still live with the English-all-the-time thing, since Lana really DOES come off much more American than Asian (like me!), so from her perspective, I could give it some leeway. Though it might niggle at the back of my mind...