Book picks similar to
The Bridge by Kay Bratt


fiction
short-stories
china
historical-fiction

Peach Blossom Pavillion


Mingmei Yip - 2008
    The story that unfolds of Precious Orchid's life in China, where she rises from a childhood of shame to become one of the most successful courtesans in the land, is unlike any they've heard before. . .When Precious Orchid's father is falsely accused of a crime and found guilty, he is executed, leaving his family a legacy of dishonor. Her mother's only option is to enter a Buddhist nunnery, so she gives her daughter over to the care of her sister in Shanghai.At first, life at Peach Blossom Pavilion feels like a dream. Surrounded by exotic flowers, murmuring fountains, colorful fishponds, and bamboo groves, Precious Orchid sees herself thriving. She is schooled in music, literature, painting, calligraphy, and to her innocent surprise, the art of pleasuring men. For the beautiful Pavilion hides its darker purpose as an elite house of prostitution. And even as she commands the devotion of China's most powerful men, Precious Orchid never gives up on her dream to escape the Pavilion, be reunited with her mother, avenge her father's death, and find true love. And as the richest, most celebrated Ming Ji or "prestigious courtesan" in all of China, she just might have her way even if it comes with a devastating price. . .Sweeping in scope and stunning in its evocation of China, Peach Blossom Pavilion is a remarkable novel with an unforgettable heroine at the heart of its powerful story. . . "Riveting. . .a rare peek into an exotic culture that is thrilling, captivating, and moving." --Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Dowry Bride"In the sure voice of Precious Orchid, Mingmei Yip recounts thirteen tumultuous years of Chinese history: vicious politics, pristine piety and heartrending scandal, framed in the classical arts. She writes with a painter's fastidious eye and the irresistible energy of grand storytelling. The pages just turn themselves." --Neal Chandler, Director, Creative Writing Program of Cleveland State University. "Peach Blossom Pavilion, story of the last geisha in China, is told with amazing insight as if the author had lived in the tumultuous China of a century ago. Through her beautiful, lucid prose, Mingmei brings modern Western readers into the mysterious world of the cultivated courtesan." --Hannelore Hahn, Founder and Executive Director, International Women's Writing Guild."Peach Blossom Pavilion is a vivid account of the forgotten past." --Chun Yu, author of Little Green: Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution

The Paper Menagerie


Ken Liu - 2011
    And we're proud to be able to reprint the whole story, right here at io9. Here's your chance to find out what all the excitement is about, and discover one of science fiction's fastest rising stars.

The Fortunes


Peter Ho Davies - 2016
    Sly, funny, intelligent, and artfully structured, The Fortunes recasts American history through the lives of Chinese Americans and reimagines the multigenerational novel through the fractures of immigrant family experience.Inhabiting four lives—a railroad baron’s valet who unwittingly ignites an explosion in Chinese labor, Hollywood's first Chinese movie star, a hate-crime victim whose death mobilizes Asian Americans, and a biracial writer visiting China for an adoption—this novel captures and capsizes over a century of our history, showing that even as family bonds are denied and broken, a community can survive—as much through love as blood.Building fact into fiction, spinning fiction around fact, Davies uses each of these stories—three inspired by real historical characters—to examine the process of becoming not only Chinese American, but American.

Shine


Jodi Picoult - 2016
    In “Shine,” the master storyteller and #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Time and My Sister’s Keeper introduces readers to the unforgettable Ruth Brooks. Today is Ruth’s first day of third grade at Dalton. The prestigious institution on New York’s Upper East Side couldn’t be more different from her old school in Harlem. Despite being the smartest girl in her grade, Ruth suspects that her classmates and teachers only see her dark skin. She also notices that Christina, the daughter of her mother’s employer, treats Ruth very differently when they’re hanging out with the popular girls rather than playing together. Ruth must navigate between two worlds, never losing sight of the dreams she has for herself—in hopes that someday, someone will see her for who she really is.Includes a preview of Jodi Picoult’s highly anticipated new novel, Small Great Things!

Once the Shore


Paul Yoon - 2009
    An elderly couple embark on a fishing boat in a harrowing journey to find their son, hoping that he has survived a bombing in the Pacific. A Japanese orphaned woman's past revisits her with devastating consequences in a wartime hospital. A case of mistaken identity compels a husband and wife to question the foundation upon which their lives have been built. An AWOL American soldier finds refuge in a small farming community, unknowingly endangering its inhabitants. And in the celebrated title story, a horrific accident at sea becomes the catalyst for an unlikely friendship between an American widow and a young waiter at a coastal resort.These stories capture, with lyrical precision, the moments in which lives shift and unravel -- ;where loss is ultimately turned into a search for reconciliation, and where the silences that pass between lovers and siblings, between parents and their children, are as powerful as the reverberations of war. Novelistic in scope, daring in its varied environments, Once the Shore introduces a remarkable new voice in international fiction.

An Illicit Temptation


Jeannie Lin - 2012
    As a lowly commoner with no prospects, she is content to be an alliance bride until an encounter with Kwan-Li, her enigmatic escort, tempts her with the promise of forbidden love. On their adventure through the wild Khitan steppe, Dao discovers Kwan-Li has secrets of his own...

Lovers in the Age of Indifference


Xiaolu Guo - 2010
    Her personal, provocative and charming fables capture the sense of alienation thrown up by life in the modern world, and we join her characters in their search for human contact - and love - in rapidly-changing landscapes all around the globe.

Dreaming Water


Gail Tsukiyama - 2002
    Dreaming Water is an exploration of two of the richest and most layered human connections that exist: mother and daughter and lifelong friends.Hana is suffering from Werner's syndrome, a disease that makes a person age at twice the rate of a healthy individual: at thirty-eight Hana has the appearance of an eighty-year-old. Cate, her mother, is caring for her while struggling with her grief at losing her husband, Max, and with the knowledge that Hana's disease is getting worse by the day.Hana and Cate's days are quiet and ordered. Cate escapes to her beloved garden and Hana reads and writes letters. Each find themselves drawn into their pasts, remembering the joyous and challenging events that have shaped them: spending the day at Max's favorite beach, overcoming their neighbors' prejudices that Max is Japanese-American and Cate is Italian-American, and coping with the heartbreak of discovering Hana's disease.One of the great joys of Hana's life has been her relationship with her beautiful, successful best friend Laura. Laura has moved to New York from their hometown in California and has two daughters, Josephine and Camille. She has not been home in years and begs Hana to let her bring her daughters to meet her, feeling that Josephine, in particular, needs to have Hana in her life. Despite Hana's latest refusal, Laura decides to come anyway. When Laura's loud, energetic, and troubled world collides with Hana and Cate's daily routine, the story really begins.Dreaming Water is about a mother's courage, a daughter's strength, and a friend's love. It is about the importance of human dignity and the importance of all the small moments that create a life worth living.

Shining Sea


Anne Korkeakivi - 2016
    Beautifully rendered and profoundly moving, SHINING SEA by Anne Korkeakivi is a family story, about the ripple effects of war, the passing down of memory, and the power of the ideal of heroism to lead us astray but also to keep us afloat.

The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo


Zen Cho - 2012
    Sebastian Hardie is tall, dark and handsome, and more intrigued than annoyed. But if Jade succumbs to temptation, she risks losing her hard-won freedom — and her best chance for love.

Sisters of Heart and Snow


Margaret Dilloway - 2015
    Rachel and Drew Snow may be sisters, but  their lives have followed completely different paths. Married to a wonderful man and a mother to two strong-minded teens, Rachel hasn’t returned to her childhood home since being kicked out by her strict father after an act of careless teenage rebellion. Drew, her younger sister, followed her passion for music but takes side jobs to make ends meet and longs for the stability that has always eluded her. Both sisters recall how close they were, but the distance between them seems more than they can bridge. When their deferential Japanese mother, Hikari, is diagnosed with dementia and gives Rachel power of attorney, Rachel’s domineering father, Killian becomes enraged. In a rare moment of lucidity, Hikari asks Rachel for a book in her sewing room, and Rachel enlists her sister’s help in the search. The book—which tells the tale of real-life female samurai Tomoe Gozen, an epic saga of love, loss, and conflict during twelfth-century Japan—reveals truths about Drew and Rachel’s relationship that resonate across the centuries, connecting them in ways that turn their differences into assets.

Wise Men


Stuart Nadler - 2013
    When Hilly meets Savannah, a young black girl on the beach at Cape Cod during the summer of 1952, his affection for her collides with his father's secrets. The result shatters his family, and hers. Years later, Hilly sets out to find Savannah, and to right the wrongs he helped set in motion. But can his sense of guilt, and his good intentions, overcome the forces of history, family, and identity? A multi-generational story about love and regret, the evolving struggle for racial dignity, and the crushing weight of familial obligation, WISE MEN confirms that Stuart Nadler is one of the most exciting young writers at work today.

The Surrendered


Chang-rae Lee - 2009
    Now, with The Surrendered, Lee has created a book that amplifies everything we've seen in his previous works, and reads like nothing else. It is a brilliant, haunting, heartbreaking story about how love and war inalterably change the lives of those they touch. June Han was only a girl when the Korean War left her orphaned; Hector Brennan was a young GI who fled the petty tragedies of his small town to serve his country. When the war ended, their lives collided at a Korean orphanage where they vied for the attentions of Sylvie Tanner, the beautiful yet deeply damaged missionary wife whose elusive love seemed to transform everything. Thirty years later and on the other side of the world, June and Hector are reunited in a plot that will force them to come to terms with the mysterious secrets of their past, and the shocking acts of love and violence that bind them together. As Lee unfurls the stunning story of June, Hector, and Sylvie, he weaves a profound meditation on the nature of heroism and sacrifice, the power of love, and the possibilities for mercy, salvation, and surrendering oneself to another. Combining the complex themes of identity and belonging of Native Speaker and A Gesture Life with the broad range, energy, and pure storytelling gifts of Aloft, Chang-rae Lee has delivered his most ambitious, exciting, and unforgettable work yet. It is a mesmerizing novel, elegantly suspenseful and deeply affecting.

Power of the Matchmaker


Heather B. MooreTaylor Dean - 2015
    . . Beautiful . . . Romantic . . .12 novels by 12 bestselling authorsReleased once a month in 2016Read the matchmaker’s story to find out where it all starts . . .Mae Li has been in love with Chen Zhu for years, and he with her. But when the matchmaker arrives at the Zhu family home, she recommends another village girl for Chen.Heartbroken, Mae Li watches as Chen does his duty by marrying another. Mae flees her village with the clothes on her back and her only possession—a pearl embedded comb, given to her as a goodbye gift from Chen Zhu. Upon Mae’s arrival in Shanghai, she quickly learns that she’ll starve within days unless she sells her prized comb or joins a courtesan house. She goes to the Huangpu River and promises the River God that she’ll always be selfless if he will save her from becoming a prostitute . . . Her wish is granted when Ms. Tan, the matchmaker of Shanghai, finds Mae. But Mae must completely change her future and her name if she is to become the next matchmaker.

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk


Kelli Estes - 2015
    As she peels back layer upon layer of the secrets it holds, Inara's life becomes interwoven with that of Mei Lein, a young Chinese girl mysteriously driven from her home a century before. Through the stories Mei Lein tells in silk, Inara uncovers a tragic truth that will shake her family to its core — and force her to make an impossible choice.Inspired by true events, Kelli Estes's brilliant and atmospheric debut serves as a poignant tale of two women determined to do the right thing, and the power of our own stories.