Excess Baggage: A Novel

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Excess Baggage is Karen Ma’s exciting debut novel. The story follows two Chinese sisters, one raised in China during the desolate Cultural Revolution; the other in Japan during the freewheeling years of bubble capitalism. They reunite as adults in Tokyo in the early 1990s and their family history soon catches up with them. Zhang Peiyin, ‘the forgotten’ sister left behind in China, is hell-bent on ...

Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: China Books; First edition (May 13, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0835100464
ISBN-13: 978-0835100465
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
Amazon Rank: 2500130
Format: PDF ePub fb2 TXT fb2 ebook

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Excess Baggage is a lively and compelling portrait of two women rising to meet life’s challenges in the overlapping but distinct cultures of Japan and China.Ma’s unadorned prose is punctuated by nice turns of phrase. Washing clothes, the mother of th...

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or lost time after growing up with little more than political slogans and has abandoned her children to join her family in Japan, imagining riches, fame and comfort. She instead receives a wary welcome from her estranged parents and insecure, competitive younger sister, Vivian, who not-so-secretly wants to drive her back to China. Not only aren’t the streets paved with gold, her family is struggling financially. As the sisters circle warily, navigating their mother’s death and other setbacks, their distrust grows, fueled by family lies and secrets. Ultimately each must confront a fundamental question: what’s the meaning of home when your roots aren’t secure? Excess Baggage is at one level a fresh look at dislocation from an Asian perspective in an Asian setting, taking off where other immigrant stories end with a more complex look than the stereotypical happily ever after reunification tale. At another level, though, it’s a universal tale about identity, alienation, love, jealousy, and family obligations in the face of adversity.