Sunday, November 7, 2010

Under Fishbone Clouds by Sam Meekings

Last night I finished Under Fishbone Clouds by Sam Meekings, and I still don't know how to express how much I loved this book. The story is told by the Kitchen God, Zao Jun, who is challenged by the Jade Emperor to find out what drives the human heart. He follows the lives of Yuying and Jinyi from 1942 until 2000 as they meet through an unconventional arranged marriage prior to the Communist take over and survive the years of Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution. The Kitchen God also briefly tells his story as a mortal before he is transformed into a household god due to the events of his death.
Simply put, this is the most moving book that I have read about the culture and history of China. Mythology and folktales are blended beautifully into the story of Yuying and Jinyi. I would recommend this to just about anyone, but readers who enjoy books about China cannot miss this one. I give it a very strong 5/5.

4 comments:

TheBookGirl said...

Wow, this one sounds wonderful Christine. I read Shanghai Girls this year and loved it and in years past I've read Amy Tan's work and liked that, so I think I'll give this a try. Thanks for highlighting it :)

Suzanne said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about this book! The story sounded wonderful, but I couldn't find an excerpt anywhere and hesitated just a bit about pre-ordering a copy. Now I can without a thought! I'm a big fan of Japanese literature, which has plenty of folklore thrown in. Can't wait to read this now!

Christine said...

Suzanne,
I think you will love it. I became interested in it through an article about the author in Publisher's Weekly. It was better than I expected.

Siobian said...

I had not heard of this book before your review. It sounds like a really fascinating book and I can't wait to read it now. Thanks!