Optimistically overstuffed ... Like memory itself, the novel is freighted with imagery and desire. Hopeful themes temper the anguish, but the author’s enthusiasm for instructing us detracts from the characters’ yearning for belonging and love ... We can’t begrudge him for wanting to do something different with this book, and bravo for extending Afong Moy’s story beyond the immigrant’s plight. But like the typhoon that threatens to overwhelm a changed world, the author’s many interests, however earnestly held, risk swamping his story.
Ford deftly reveals seven women’s lives ... The name and epithet are actual history, which Ford embellishes with a poignant past and intriguing descendants ... While loneliness, suffering, and violence haunt throughout, Ford’s revisionist penultimate chapter, 'Echoes,' feels less empowering than uncomfortably forced. That said, Ford fans are unlikely to be disappointed, his writing remains reliably immersive and enlightening.
Another spellbinding tale of memory's power to bind us together. At once heartbreaking and uplifting, The Many Daughters of Afong Moy connects women who are generations and worlds apart ... Ford's writing is seductive as he intertwines the lives of Dorothy, Annabel and their ancestors within a rich swirl of history and imagination ... As Ford unravels the intriguing stories behind Dorothy's recollections, he leads readers through her process of reconciling inherited memory with her present reality. The unfurling of ancestry and the passage of time are masterfully controlled and poetic, sumptuous and stark. Each time period is as expansive as the next, and within these eras, Ford plumbs the different sociocultural views and the changing roles and expectations of women, all while highlighting his strong characterization ... Exploring the bonds that transcend physical space, The Many Daughters of Afong Moy is an enthralling, centuries-spanning tale.
Expect long treatises on anamnesis, quantum biology, and reincarnation before traveling with Dorothy’s adult daughter in 2086 ... Ford raises fascinating questions, but a rushed ending too neatly ties up the answers in an unconvincing, sentimental bow.
... intriguing if melodramatic ... Ford sometimes bogs this down with explanations of epigenetics, and some might roll their eyes at the pat ending, but the individual accounts of the women in the family can be gripping. There’s some good storytelling here, but this doesn’t quite stand out amid an increasingly full shelf of multigenerational climate epics.