"Hong Kong, 1966. Sook-Yin is exiled from Kowloon to London with orders to restore honor to her family. But as she trains to become a nurse in cold and wet England, Sook-Yin realizes that, like so many transplants, she must carve out a destiny of her own to survive. Thirty years later in London, having lost her mother as a small child, biracial misfit Lily can only remember what Maya, her preternaturally perfect older sister, has told her about Sook-Yin. Unexpectedly named in the will of a powerful Chinese stranger, Lily embarks on a secret pilgrimage across the world to discover the lost side of her identity and claim the reward. But just as change is coming to Hong Kong, so Lily learns Maya's secrecy about their past has deep roots, and that good fortune comes at a price. Heartfelt, wry and achingly real, Ghost Girl, Banana marks the stunning debut of a writer-to-watch"--
While sharing a wealth of nuanced historical details of everyday life in two very different cultures and in very different time periods, first-time novelist Wharton is able to keep the focus on her characters. As she alternates between the primary voices of Sook-Yin in the past and Lily in the present, the secondary characters are also fully realized and add depth to this rich family saga.
Treading sure-footedly on uneven terrain, author Wharton unpacks chauvinist attitudes about race and nationality from the perspectives of both the colonized and the colonizers, painting, through bitter twists and turns, a picture of diasporic people whose origins are their most valuable MacGuffins.