Monday, March 21, 2011

Review:Habit of a Foreign Sky by XU XI

Somewhere between Hong Kong and New York, life does an abrupt shift for Gail Szeto, when her mother, her last family member, is killed in an accident. For Gail, a mixed-race, single mother who had buried her young son less than two years prior, all she has left is a hard-won career at a global investment bank. Life rapidly goes into free fall for this woman with a complicated past, who was once so sure of her direction in life, who can now see no clear future path. Shortlisted for the inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize, this novel offers a an international cast of characters in New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Good Reads
What really drew me to this book was the opportunity to learn more about a woman of a different culture. I've always been intrigued by the Asian Culture so I thought this book would reflect some of the lifestyle. I cant say for certain if this is a full representation, but I could relate to Gail Szeto's journey.
Gail's life is her work. After a divorce and the devastating loss of her son she frequently travels from Hong Kong to New York in her duties as an executive VP. When her mother is tragically killed she is awakened to deep repressed feelings about her family and herself. Except for her half -brother Gordie she is truly alone. Many secrets of her mothers become revealed after the funeral, like a financial inheritance. In the midst of this Gail finds her self involved in a romantic relationship with Xavier a separated man with a young daughter.
Gail navigates this new emotional terrain along with more and more revelations and feelings about her past. I found this a very satisfying read though it was hard to get a full read on Gail's feelings at times. Xu has a rich narrative style. There are moments of pain confusion and fear that are covered beautifully along with a steadfast emotional control in some of the characters.
An interesting read.

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