It begins with a mystery. Sylvie, the beautiful, brilliant, successful older daughter of the Lee family, flies to the Netherlands for one final visit with her dying grandmother—and then vanishes. Amy, Sylvie's younger sister, desperately retraces Sylvie's steps, revealing painful family secrets that have long been kept hidden.
... a moving tale that, while billed as a mystery, transcends the genre ... There is so much in this novel that mirrors modern life as Kwok pulls us into the lives of people who encounter prejudice and ignorance as they struggle to assimilate ... Kwok cracks open Sylvie’s heart, spilling its sorrowful contents for all the world to see. This is a beautifully written story in which the author evokes the hard reality of being an immigrant and a woman in today’s world.
Reading Kwok’s...third novel is like watching an artist create a pencil drawing; she lays down the initial outline, then builds on it with shading and nuance until everything comes together at the stunning end. Her sharp and surprising language transports readers across the globe on a breathless and emotionally complex journey. Excellent from every angle, this is a can’t-miss novel for lovers of poignant and propulsive fiction.
Though the novel is rife with romantic entanglements and revelations that wouldn’t be amiss in a soap opera, its emotional core is the bond between the Lee sisters, one of mutual devotion and a tinge of envy ... the book is a meditation not just on racism, but on (not) belonging ...A frank look at the complexities of family, race and culture.