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Goodre helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book . From the massively talented Gish Jen comes a barbed, moving, and stylistically dazzling new novel about the elusive nature of kinship. Into this new American family comes a volatile new member. Her name is Lanlan. Is Lanlan a very good nanny, a heartless climber, or a posthumous gift from a formidable mother who never stopped wanting her son to marry a nice Chinese girl?
Rich in insight, buoyed by humor, The Love Wife is a hugely satisfying work. Get A Copy. Paperback , s. Published October 11th by Vintage first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please up. To ask other readers questions about The Love Wife , please up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Love Wife. Mar 21, Lee Anne rated it liked it.
Carnegie Wong is a first generation Chinese-American, with Blondie his white wife, so nicknamed by his mother ; two adopted daughters, one Chinese, one of unknown Asian descent; and baby Bailey, his biological child, who defies genetics and looks not at all Asian. His mother, Mama Wong, is the Asian fiction cliche So common, in fact, that there has to be some truth in it. At any rate, I love the cliche, so so be it. After her death from Alzheimer's, Carnegie, through a distant relative in China, discovers her will, which requests he bring over Lanlan, a middle-aged Chinese woman who has had a terrible life.
Lanlan is to serve as nanny to the children. Will Carnegie fall in love with Lanlan? What do you think? If you judge this book from the blurbs on the cover and inside, it is the greatest thing since War and Peace.
It's not that amazing. It does have an unusual writing style: the characters alternate in telling the reader the story, almost as if they are being interviewed. However, the plot takes some rapid and crazy turns at about chapter 14, and the book never recovers. Whole characters Gabriela, Blondie's New Age, midlife crisis friend; the Bailey family are left with no resolution. I feel like Gish Jen was going for something too big here, a swing and a miss. View 1 comment. Jul 11, Peter Schmidt rated it it was amazing. Except for some clunky plotting involving Lan's story near the end, this is overall Jen's best novel and her others are very good!
Ignore lots of the reviews--the main characters are superbly developed and realistically conflicted, not types, and the book's formal experimentation with the narrative mode--it's a collage of internal monologues that do and do not respond to each other, with all of the major characters have a distinctive voice and p o v --succeeds brilliantly. And even more than Except for some clunky plotting involving Lan's story near the end, this is overall Jen's best novel and her others are very good! Jan 24, Beverly rated it really liked it Shelves: literary , asian , immigrants.
What is good about this book is that it undercuts the cliche of the always wise Chinese eespecially elders. The old mother is a nightmare, controlling her son from beyond the grave. The immigrant relative, Lanlan, plays a game of seducing the daughters of the family with 'Chinese wisdom' while seducing the husband in another way. The multiple narrators work well in the audio version, maybe not so well in print. The narration is heavy with the preteen, 11 year old Wendy, and the reader must suspe What is good about this book is that it undercuts the cliche of the always wise Chinese eespecially elders.
The narration is heavy with the preteen, 11 year old Wendy, and the reader must suspend disbelief at the narrator's maturity and powers of observation, but it works ok. All in all, a kind of rollicking, free wheeling narrative of contemporary family life with detail that incorporates the immigrant experience. View 2 comments. Nov 12, Katie M. The constantly shifting points of view can be occasionally tricky to wrap your head around, especially when the narrators change 5 times on a single , but ultimately the conversational flow of the narration is really skillfully done, and allows the reader to really jump inside everyone's head and get to know all the characters intimately.
View all 4 comments. Feb 18, Jgknobler rated it it was amazing. I adored this funny, insightful and very forthright novel about a Chinese-American man married to a white woman; their adopted and biological children; the shadow of the man's ambitious, no-nonsense and hypercritical mother; and what happens when a native Chinese woman comes to live with them. It has an unusual structure of alternating viewpoints which I initially found annoying but grew to appreciate. Apr 07, Peter Goodman rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction , contemporary-fiction. A wonderful book, complex, multi-layered, funny, melancholy, acute.
They have two adopted Asian daughters, teenage Lilly from China and 8-year-old Wendy ancestry not clear , and one natural-born son, Bailey. Mama Wong hates Blondie, and arranges for the family to bring a Chinese woman named Lan to serve as a sort of nanny for the family. Carnegie resents his mother and works earnestly to keep his marriage and family together. Blondie is not really a caricature of the suburban American woman, trying to keep up with trends, hard-working and successful, trying hard to ignore the seduction of this alien woman into their household.
The girls are watching this all, trying to make sense of what is happening while going through adolescence. The Love Wife, in Chinese thinking, is a woman whom a husband turns to for true love beyond his wife. The whole story is told through the voices of the main characters—there is no narration. The denouement is bloody and surprising; the marriage finally, unhappily breaks; the stress is ultimately almost too much for Carnegie to bear.
Jun 30, Amanda rated it liked it. The Love Wife follows the trials and tribulations of a racially mixed family--a white wife Blondie from an artsy, waspy family; a Chinese husband Carnegie ; two adopted daughters, one Chinese and one of Asian possibly Chinese or Japanese descent; and finally, a late-in-life biological child who takes after Blondie in appearance. Instead, she s The Love Wife follows the trials and tribulations of a racially mixed family--a white wife Blondie from an artsy, waspy family; a Chinese husband Carnegie ; two adopted daughters, one Chinese and one of Asian possibly Chinese or Japanese descent; and finally, a late-in-life biological child who takes after Blondie in appearance.
Instead, she shifts the family's racial dynamics and slowly replaces Blondie as mother and wife figure. Gish Jen does a nice job of developing the three main characters--Blondie, Carnegie, and Lan as well as Carnegie's imperious mother , and it's easy to see how conflicted they are. The reader may feel conflicted as well. Who do we root for? Hardworking Lan, who has overcome so much hardship, or well-meaning Blondie? And what of Carnegie, who is only too willing to be led astray? As for the daughters, little Wendy is a sympathetic character, but Lizzy, the stereotypically rebellious teenager is exceptionally cruel and callous.
The book's true climax comes at the very end, and some may feel as I did that the truly interesting part happens after the book's last .The love wife
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The Love Wife Reader’s Guide