Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Today: Song of the Silk Road by Mingmei Yip

There is something both achingly modern and hauntingly ancient about Song of the Silk Road (Kensington). When you think about it, though, there’s nothing too surprising in that. Author Mingmei Yip (Peach Blossom Pavilion, Petals from the Sky) was born in China and holds a Ph.D. from the Sorbonne. She has held faculty appointments at the Chinese University and Baptist University in Hong Kong. She’s written professionally in both English and Chinese and though she lived in China for many years, she’s made the United States her home since 1992. She knows what it is to have a firm foothold in more than one place and culture and this knowledge -- and how it can manifest in a life -- informs this work.

Lily Lin is a Chinese student living in New York and struggling to finish a graduate degree when a startling offer appears out of the blue, threatening to turn her into a sort of dusty Cinderella. An aunt she wasn’t even aware of contacts Lily, offering her three mllion dollars to travel across a vast Chinese desert, completing set tasks along the way. Though at first Lily wonders at the validity of the wild offer, she eventually accepts: circumstances pushing her in unexpected ways.

The journey is transforming in many ways. Both as a passage of self-discovery, but also a road to love. No big surprise there. In fact, there aren’t a lot of surprises to be found in Song of the Silk Road, but that’s not really the point. Yip’s gentle style and forthright tale are a captivating combination and make the journey well worthwhile. ◊

Sienna Powers is a transplanted Calgarian who lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. She is a writer and conceptual artist.

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