Dreams of Joy: A Novel Hardcover – May 31 2011
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“One of those hard-to-put down-until-four in-the-morning books . . . With each new novel, Lisa See gets better and better.”—Los Angeles Times
“Once again, See’s research feels impeccable, and she has created an authentic, visually arresting world.”—The Washington Post
“A stunningly researched epic about revolutionary-era China.”—Los Angeles
“See is a gifted historical novelist. She illuminates a turning point in Chinese history when people still remembered the inequities of the feudal caste system, and in some cases embodied them. . . . See is unflinching in her willingness to describe it all.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“See’s fans will be glad to read more about Pearl, May and Joy, and See’s recurring themes of unbreakable family bonds and strong-willed women.”—The Oregonian
About the Author
Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of Shanghai Girls, Peony in Love, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Flower Net (an Edgar Award nominee), The Interior, and Dragon Bones, as well as the critically acclaimed memoir On Gold Mountain. The Organization of Chinese American Women named her the 2001 National Woman of the Year. She lives in Los Angeles.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Since her birth father is a well-known artist in Shanghai, it is fairly easy for her to find him in spite of government restrictions. After his initial shock of discovering he even has a daughter, he seems happy to know her. She travels with him to the village of Green Dragon where she joins the commune and falls in love with a young peasant farmer.
In 1958, Mao announced the "Great Leap Forward," an attempt to increase agricultural and industrial production. However, three years of floods and bad harvest due to poor farming methods, severely damaged levels of production. The famine that occurred reportedly resulted in 4.5 million fatalities. The author masterfully transports us to that village and shows us in startling detail the horrors that result from this famine. Her attention to detail is wonderful and, while the book isn't a page-turner in the sense of a thriller, I was spellbound by the history of a period in China that has always fascinated me.
Although "Dreams of Joy" is the sequel to "Shanghai Girls," which I have never read, I found it stands alone quite well. Since I am always intrigued by the history of China, I will certainly go back and read the prequel, as well as Ms. See's earlier books. She is a skilful author with the ability to transfer the reader to the exotic country she writes about.
At 2 o'clock in the morning, Joy decides to leave their Los Angeles, California home and go to China. She packs a bag, writes her mother a note and quietly slips out the door. She walks to the nearest pay phone and calls her boyfriend Joe and tells him to get up, get dressed and get on a plane to San Francisco to meet her - they were going to China! Joe was having no part of that and hung up on her. However, Joy is still going to China, determined as ever to find her "real" father: "...even if he lives in a country of 600 million."
Joy is dazzled by Z.G. but is totally blinded by idealism and defiance and throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the Communist regime.
Distraught by Joy's leaving and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation.
A beautiful story of a family challenged by tragedy and time, but ultimately united by the resilience of love. Lisa See has a remarkable ability for writing and I've read every book she has written and with each one she just keeps outdoing herself. This is one you won't want to miss.
Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, and anger at her mother and aunt for keeping them from her, 19 year old Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the communist regime and the Great Leap Forward.
Terrified for her daughter's safety, Pearl is determined to save her, no matter what the personal cost as one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.
I like Lisa See's books and this one did not disappoint. Yes, the ending wrapped up quickly and perhaps a bit too neatly, but she is well researched and appears to have a good understanding of family dynamics.
It’s a profound story with many turning points, emotions, adventures and horror moments.
I loved the main characters and their continuous fight for their own dreams.
Here are some quotes I like and would love to share:
“Everybody works so everybody eats.”
“A hurried marriage is not a solid basis for a marriage. Suicide is not a solution to unhappiness.”
“Just remember, a person is his – or her – history. If your history isn't good, then you won’t be good. A rebel as a five-year-old will be a rebel as young man and will die a rebel.”
“The spear hits the bird that sticks his head out.”
“As long as we have enthusiasm and determination, we can achieve anything!”
“An inch of gold won’t buy an inch of time.”
“Always show the greatest kindness to the ones you like the least. If you show kindness to your mother-in-law, who like all women has been bred to hate her daughter-in-law, then you will create an obligation she will never be able to repay.”
“No matter what you’re feeling or how desperate you become, always take a moral position.”
“Those who have little to lose don’t want to lose what little they have. “
“…men are attracted to women who are crazy about them.”
“…truth, forgiveness, and goodness are more important than revenge, condemnation, and cruelty.”
“Give a low man one ounce of power and he’ll throw ten thousand pounds of bricks on your head.”
“Nothing is more precious than when you might lose it.”
Most recent customer reviews
I couldn't wait for this sequel to Shanghai Girls but I was so disappointed and I could not get past the part of Joy finding her father on the first day of her arrival in... Read morePublished 6 months ago by RKG
I really enjoyed this book. It was full of insight and gave a riveting story of the beginning enthusiasm of the PRC, followed by the reality of a planned economy, all the while... Read morePublished 16 months ago by L C
I have read several of Lisa See books & found them quite enjoyable.
Well worth reading during these cold wintry days.
I have the hardcopy too so this is not a review of the book but of the recording. I want to do this because a bad audio can ruin a book. I get the audio for commute. Read morePublished on April 18 2013 by Team Awesomeness
I was very disappointed with this book. I had high hopes because I really did enjoy Shanghai Girls. The beginning of the book wasn't so bad actually. It was pretty interesting. Read morePublished on July 16 2012 by Karoline