The many daughters of Afong Moy A novel

Jamie Ford

Book - 2022

"From the New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet comes a powerful novel about the love that binds one family of women across generations. Dorothy Moy breaks her own heart for a living. As Seattle's former poet laureate, that's how she describes channeling her dissociative episodes and mental breakdowns into her art. But when her five-year-old daughter, Annabel, exhibits the same behavior and begins remembering things and events she has never e...xperienced, Dorothy believes the past has truly come to haunt the present. If she doesn't take radical steps, her daughter will be doomed to face the same debilitating depression that has marked her life. Through epigenetic therapy-an experimental treatment designed to mitigate inherited trauma-Dorothy intimately connects with the past generations of women in her family: Faye Moy, a nurse in Burma serving with the Flying Tigers; Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to set foot in America; Zoe Moy, a student in England at a famous school with no rules; Lai King Moy, a girl quarantined in San Francisco during a plague epidemic; and Greta Moy, a tech executive with a unique dating app. Through reliving their painful stories, Dorothy comes to understand the true cost of inherited pain. As the past bleeds into the present, Dorothy discovers that trauma isn't the only thing she's inherited. A stranger is searching for her in each time period. A stranger who's loved her through all of her genetic memories. And that person is most certainly not her current husband, Louis. To protect her daughter's future, Dorothy must break the cycle and find a way to cross time and resolve all past traumas, to find the love that has long been waiting, and find peace for Annabel. Even if it means she must sacrifice her only chance at life and happiness"--

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1st Floor New Shelf FICTION/Ford Jamie (NEW SHELF) Due Aug 24, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Magic realist fiction
Domestic fiction
Psychological fiction
Historical fiction
Epic fiction
Published
New York : Atria Books 2022.
Edition
First Atria Books hardcover edition
Language
English
Item Description
"Read with Jenna"--Dust jacket.
Physical Description
xvi, 362 pages : genealogical table ; 24 cm
ISBN
9781982158217
1982158212
Main Author
Jamie Ford (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Ford (Love and Other Consolation Prizes, 2017) showcases "transgenerational epigenetic inheritance"—inheriting trauma through generations—in another multitemporal narrative spanning two-and-a-half centuries across the globe. Ford deftly reveals seven women's lives, beginning with progenitor Afong, "the first Chinese woman to set foot on American soil." The name and epithet are actual history, which Ford embellishes with a poignant past and intriguing descendants. Child bride to a dead man, Afong is banished to the New World, where she disappears in 1836. Her legacy continues through Lai King, returned alone to China in 1892 to save her from certain plague death in San Francisco; nurse Faye in Kunming, who saves an American pilot in 1942; student Zoe at a progressive British school in 1927; feminist dating-app creator Greta in 2014. In 2045, battling personal crises, poet Dorothy becomes their epigenetic connector; by 2086, daughter Annabel will be the beneficiary of Dorothy's transformative quest. While loneliness, suffering, and violence haunt throughout, Ford's revisionist penultimate chapter, "Echoes," feels less empowering than uncomfortably forced. That said, Ford fans are unlikely to be disappointed, his writing remains reliably immersive and enlightening.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Advance publicity will spur interest in Ford's fans and all readers who love sweeping historical fiction. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

Ford (Love and Other Consolation Prizes, 2017) showcases "transgenerational epigenetic inheritance"—inheriting trauma through generations—in another multitemporal narrative spanning two-and-a-half centuries across the globe. Ford deftly reveals seven women's lives, beginning with progenitor Afong, "the first Chinese woman to set foot on American soil." The name and epithet are actual history, which Ford embellishes with a poignant past and intriguing descendants. Child bride to a dead man, Afong is banished to the New World, where she disappears in 1836. Her legacy continues through Lai King, returned alone to China in 1892 to save her from certain plague death in San Francisco; nurse Faye in Kunming, who saves an American pilot in 1942; student Zoe at a progressive British school in 1927; feminist dating-app creator Greta in 2014. In 2045, battling personal crises, poet Dorothy becomes their epigenetic connector; by 2086, daughter Annabel will be the beneficiary of Dorothy's transformative quest. While loneliness, suffering, and violence haunt throughout, Ford's revisionist penultimate chapter, "Echoes," feels less empowering than uncomfortably forced. That said, Ford fans are unlikely to be disappointed, his writing remains reliably immersive and enlightening.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Advance publicity will spur interest in Ford's fans and all readers who love sweeping historical fiction. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The Edgar-nominated Bayard follows up Courting Mr. Lincoln with Jackie & Me, which reimagines Jacqueline Bouvier meeting Jack Kennedy and, as they approach marriage, slowly realizing that she's being polished as the perfect political wife. The New York Times best-selling, multi-award-winning Belfer introduces us to disappointed academic Hannah Larson, who travels to historic Ashton Hall to tend a relative and begins reconstructing events there during the Elizabethan era after her neurodivegent young son, Nicky, discovers a skeleton in the walls. Drawing on ancient texts and modern archaeology to unearth a trans woman's story beneath The Iliad, Deane's Wrath Goddess Sing reveals an Achilles living as a woman with the transgender priestesses of Great Mother Aphrodite and refusing Odysseus's call to fight until given the body of a woman by Athena and heading into battle to confront an immortal, viciously implacable Helen. From Ford, the author of the mega-best-selling Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet,The Many Daughters of Afong May tells the story of Dorothy Moy, who turns her often painful dissociative mental-health crises into art; when her daughter begins revealing similar tendencies, Dorothy seeks to waylay the consequences of inherited trauma by engaging in a radical therapy that connects her with brave women ancestors (125,000-copy first printing). In debuter Pook's Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter, set in late 1800s Australia, young Englishwoman Eliza Brightwell sets off to find her eccentric father when the pearl-fishing boat he captains returns to port without him (60,000-copy first printing). In Pulley's Cold War-set The Half-Life of Valery K, when former nuclear specialist Valery Kolkhanov is removed from the Gulag and asked to study the effects of radiation in a mysterious town housing nuclear reactors, he's truly worried about how much radiation there is (60,000-copy first printing). In New York Times best-selling author Rimmer's latest, The German Wife of a Nazi scientist pardoned and put to work in the start-up U.S. space program doesn't feel at home among the other NASA wives and confides her husband's SS past to exactly the wrong person (200,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing). Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Ford (Love and Other Consolation Prizes)) writes a fictional, multigenerational account of the women in a Chinese American family. Each chapter is dedicated to one of the seven Moys, from Afong Moy (the first Chinese woman to arrive in the U.S., in 1834), to Dorothy Moy in 2045 and Annabel Moy in 2086. Shared familial trauma is the women's heirloom, proving the basis of the book—that trauma can be inherited and transmitted. Readers are introduced to 14-year-old Afong whose ah ma is preparing her to be wedded to Dei Yu, who has just passed away. As Afong's ah ma teaches her the way for a wife to mourn, the author drives home the point: "They both knew she did not need a lesson in grief. She had been born a woman." Two centuries later, Dorothy attempts to break free from the cycle of carrying her predecessors' pain, by participating in an experimental epigenetic therapy. Throughout the novel, Ford (who is a man) acutely captures the plight of women across time. Dorothy is the most developed character, but each of the Moy women will leave readers wanting to know more. VERDICT Ford's tragically beautiful book will make readers cry and smile.—Paige Pagan Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Ford (Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet) explores in his intriguing if melodramatic latest the connections between seven generations of women, beginning with the historical Afong Moy, noted as the first Chinese woman to immigrate to the United States. In 2045, in a storm-besieged Seattle, Afong's descendant Dorothy is having hallucinations from the points of view of women from the past. Dorothy seeks help from a Native American practitioner of the experimental "science" of epigenetics, which posits that it's possible to inherit memories. The novel weaves scenes from the lives of other Moys—including a nurse in China in WWII, a student at the radical Summerhill boarding school in Great Britain, a young woman crossing the Pacific, and more—with scenes of Dorothy's increasingly frantic attempts to hold onto some sort of sanity as a monsoon hits Seattle and her mind shifts between the present and the distant past. Ford sometimes bogs this down with explanations of epigenetics, and some might roll their eyes at the pat ending, but the individual accounts of the women in the family can be gripping. There's some good storytelling here, but this doesn't quite stand out amid an increasingly full shelf of multigenerational climate epics. Agent: Kirstin Nelson; Nelson Literary Agency. (Aug.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"From the New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet comes a powerful novel about the love that binds one family of women across generations. Dorothy Moy breaks her own heart for a living. As Seattle's former poet laureate, that's how she describes channeling her dissociative episodes and mental breakdowns into her art. But when her five-year-old daughter, Annabel, exhibits the same behavior and begins remembering things and events she has never experienced, Dorothy believes the past has truly come to haunt the present. If she doesn't take radical steps, her daughter will be doomed to face the same debilitating depression that has marked her life. Through epigenetic therapy-an experimental treatment designed to mitigate inherited trauma-Dorothy intimately connects with the past generations of women in her family: Faye Moy, a nurse in Burma serving with the Flying Tigers; Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to set foot in America; Zoe Moy, a student in England at a famous school with no rules; Lai King Moy, a girl quarantined in San Francisco during a plague epidemic; and Greta Moy, a tech executive with a unique dating app. Through reliving their painful stories, Dorothy comes to understand the true cost of inherited pain. As the past bleeds into the present, Dorothy discovers that trauma isn't the only thing she's inherited. A stranger is searching for her in each time period. A stranger who's loved her through all of her genetic memories. And that person is most certainly not her current husband, Louis. To protect her daughter's future, Dorothy must break the cycle and find a way to cross time and resolve all past traumas, to find the love that has long been waiting, and find peace for Annabel. Even if it means she mustsacrifice her only chance at life and happiness"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The New York Times best-selling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet returns with a powerful exploration of the love that binds one family across the generations.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A Read With Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!The New York Times bestselling author of the “mesmerizing and evocative” (Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants) Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet returns with a powerful exploration of the love that binds one family across the generations. Dorothy Moy breaks her own heart for a living. As Washington’s former poet laureate, that’s how she describes channeling her dissociative episodes and mental health struggles into her art. But when her five-year-old daughter exhibits similar behavior and begins remembering things from the lives of their ancestors, Dorothy believes the past has truly come to haunt her. Fearing that her child is predestined to endure the same debilitating depression that has marked her own life, Dorothy seeks radical help. Through an experimental treatment designed to mitigate inherited trauma, Dorothy intimately connects with past generations of women in her family: Faye Moy, a nurse in China serving with the Flying Tigers; Zoe Moy, a student in England at a famous school with no rules; Lai King Moy, a girl quarantined in San Francisco during a plague epidemic; Greta Moy, a tech executive with a unique dating app; and Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to set foot in America.As painful recollections affect her present life, Dorothy discovers that trauma isn’t the only thing she’s inherited. A stranger is searching for her in each time period. A stranger who’s loved her through all of her genetic memories. Dorothy endeavors to break the cycle of pain and abandonment, to finally find peace for her daughter, and gain the love that has long been waiting, knowing she may pay the ultimate price.