Under Fishbone Clouds is a universal love story, a family saga, and a journey through Chinese history, myth, and culture. Following a young Chinese couple as their love grows, and is tested, during Mao's Cultural Revolution, this elegant debut novel provides a rare and personal glimpse into the birth modern China.
When the Kitchen God is challenged by the Jade Emperor to fathom the workings of the human heart, he chooses to follow the life of Jinyi and his wife Yuying, from their blossoming love until their old age, in hope of finding an answer. The Kitchen God watches as the new government strictures split their family in two, living inside their hearts as they they endure the loss of two children, homesickness, and isolation, all while keeping alive a love that survives famine, forced labor, and even death. Weaving together the story of their life with China’s recent political history, as well as traditional folktales and myths, the Kitchen God illuminates the most impenetrable aspects the human condition.Sam Meekings's remarkable debut novel showcases his luminous, poetic writing, as well as insights that belong to a writer twice his age. Part love story and part historical narrative, Under Fishbone Clouds carries the weight and beauty of a lifetime's achievement.
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Narrated by a Kitchen God, this ambitious first novel maintains an affectionate tone while recounting the vast political shifts and horrors experienced in China from 1942 to 2000, in particular by lovers Bian Yuying and Hou Jinyi.| Read Full Review of Under Fishbone Clouds
“All you can do,” she thinks, “is try to hang on to the things you love while the undertow of history tugs away all your finely made plans.” The marriage of Jinyi and Yuying stretches from their early years together to old age.Dec 08 2010 | Read Full Review of Under Fishbone Clouds
Events as grim as these have happened throughout Chinese history, the Kitchen God seems to be saying as he evokes the Jade Emperor’s palace, with its “thick reams of unending nothingness,” and the timeless world of gods, dragons, immortals and demons with “gargantuan egos.” Although he’s...Dec 10 2010 | Read Full Review of Under Fishbone Clouds
Skipping back to 1942 and 1944 to explore formative events in each one's past, the story takes the reader on a riveting trip of unrelenting trials and tribulations ranging from the loss of three sons to enforced work camps to, in the recent past, life-threatening illness.Aug 30 2010 | Read Full Review of Under Fishbone Clouds
I lived for many years in China, but still don't think I have the ability to write as if I am Chinese, and according to the back of the book, author Sam Meekings has only lived in China for four years.Jun 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Under Fishbone Clouds
In short, love is hard work, and the fairytale ending of our story is only the beginning of the hard work of keeping love alive.” Review by Jill I.Dec 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Under Fishbone Clouds
Following a young Chinese couple as their love grows, and is tested, during Mao's Cultural Revolution, this elegant debut novel provides a rare and personal glimpse into the birth modern China.When the Kitchen God is challenged by the Jade Emperor to fathom the workings of the human heart,...Dec 13 2010 | Read Full Review of Under Fishbone Clouds
This is a great way to encourage the reader to continue, because, having skipped a few years in between chapters, we are instantly eager to find out where Yuying and Jingyi are and how they are progressing – even though much of the time, we know the news is unlikely to be good.Feb 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Under Fishbone Clouds
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