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Synopsis: Anna Schoene is a golden child. Her parents, Joseph and Genevieve, were rich American expats in Shanghai before the Japanese invaded, before the war intervened. The child of missionaries, Joseph Schoene has made his fortune on his wits; he is a man in love with China, his daughter, and with the idea of taking risks. For the young Anna, Shanghai is a magical world; she loves the city as much as her father does. But when the Japanese invade and when war comes, even Anna knows that their life in China is over. Joseph sends his wife and daughter back to America with the promise that they will soon be reunited, but, despite imprisonment by the Japanese and the loss of much of his fortune, for decades he cannot bring himself to follow them. Anna grows up half way across the world from her home and her father, and it is only over the years that she gradually learns Joseph's real story the story both of his Chinese past and, finally, that of his old age in California.
Review: The Distant Land of My Father begins like a fairy tale: "My father was a millionaire in Shanghai in the 1930s.... On the day he was born, in the province of Shantung, neighbors presented my missionary grandparents, the only Americans for miles, with noodles in great abundance and one hundred chicken eggs, in honor of their son's birth." To the young Anna Schoene, life in Shanghai is indeed magical. There are servants, a luxurious villa, a beautiful mother who smells like Chanel No. 5, and a young, handsome, polo-playing father. Unfortunately, her father is also a smuggler and speculator who loves his freewheeling life more than anything (or anyone) else. Despite warnings, Schoene refuses to leave Shanghai even after the Japanese invade, and his wife and child retreat to Los Angeles; later, he survives imprisonment and torture only to once again choose Shanghai over his family--this time with the Communists moving in.
Bo Caldwell's sepia-toned evocation of 1930s Shanghai is lovely and physical, and given the built-in drama of its setting, this first novel ought to have the vividness of a classic movie. Yet the characters remain oddly flat while world events swirl around them. Great chunks of historical exposition seem largely undigested, while Schoene's final change of heart fails to ring true. In a sense, however, these shortcomings are beside the point. The Distant Land of My Father is above all a tragic romance, albeit one with an unusual love interest. Schoene is so besotted with Shanghai that his wife and daughter are scarcely as real to him as the city itself. --Mary Park
Title: The Distant Land of My Father (Charnwood ...
Publication Date: 2003
Book Condition: Good
Book Description Charnwood (Large Print), 2003. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Ex library copy with usual stamps/stickers Good condition is defined as: a copy that has been read but remains in clean condition. All of the pages are intact and the cover is intact and the spine may show signs of wear. The book may have minor markings which are not specifically mentioned. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day. Seller Inventory # mon0007396601
Book Description Charnwood Pub, 2003. Condition: Good. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP69085815
Book Description Charnwood (Large Print), 2003. Hardcover. Condition: Used; Very Good. We are committed to providing each customer with the highest standard of customer service. All books are picked, packed and dispatched from the United Kingdom. Seller Inventory # PH3112033
Book Description Charnwood (Large Print), 2003. Hardcover. Condition: Used; Good. **SHIPPED FROM UK** We believe you will be completely satisfied with our quick and reliable service. All orders are dispatched as swiftly as possible! Buy with confidence!. Seller Inventory # 2488576
Book Description Ulverscroft Large Print Books. Hardcover. Condition: Fair. A readable copy. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact. Pages can include considerable notes-in pen or highlighter-but the notes cannot obscure the text. At ThriftBooks, our motto is: Read More, Spend Less. Seller Inventory # G0708994466I5N00
Book Description Charnwood (Large Print), 2003. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Ex-library **EXPRESS DELIVERY AVAILABLE AT CHECKOUT** UK Dispatch. Seller Inventory # mon0000103986
Book Description Charnwood (Large Print), 2003. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Ex-library. EXPRESS DELIVERY AVAILABLE AT CHECKOUT. Shipped From the UK. Seller Inventory # mon0000301582
Book Description Charnwood Pub. Hardcover. Condition: Good. 0708994466. Seller Inventory # SKU1505107
Book Description Charnwood Pub. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. 0708994466 Very Good Condition. Tight and Neat. Five star seller - Buy with confidence!. Seller Inventory # Z0708994466Z2
Book Description Charnwood, 2003. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Great condition with minimal wear, aging, or shelf wear. Seller Inventory # P020708994466