Hongmei is the perfect Asian wife: beautiful, diligent, and passive. She lives a quiet life in Northern California with her husband, Glen, an intelligent and caring college professor. But when a mysterious person begins to email her, Hongmei can't resist and soon finds herself enthralled in a psychological cat-and-mouse game.
The story has a Hitchcockian feel, down to its northern California setting. It’s not terribly difficult to figure out the stranger’s identity, but Yan’s pacing keeps the pages turning. In this day and age, Hongmei continuing to correspond with this strange person might come across as a bit frustrating; that it does not is in part due to the expertise of translator Jeremy Tiang.
Only the stranger’s observations seem to penetrate Hongmei’s tiresome self-absorption to guide her toward some semblance of self-awareness. Alas, this tale is unnecessarily coy for being rather obvious, and, sadly, tedious.