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by Bo Caldwell

Anna, the narrator of this riveting novel, lives in a storybook world: exotic pre-World War II Shanghai, with handsome young parents, wealth, and comfort. Her father, the son of missionaries, leads a charmed and secretive life, though his greatest joy is sharing his beloved city with his only daughter. Yet when Anna and her mother flee Japanese-occupied Shanghai to return to California, he stays behind, believing his connections and a little bit of luck will keep him safe. Through Anna's memories and her father's journals we learn of his fall from charismatic millionaire to tortured prisoner, in a story of betrayal and reconciliation that spans two continents. The Distant Land of My Father, a breathtaking and richly lyrical debut, unfolds to reveal an enduring family love through tragic circumstances. National Bestseller
Download The Distant Land of My Father epub
ISBN: 0156027135
ISBN13: 978-0156027137
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Author: Bo Caldwell
Language: English
Publisher: Harvest Books; First edition (September 9, 2002)
Pages: 378 pages
ePUB size: 1217 kb
FB2 size: 1227 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 562
Other Formats: mobi doc txt azw

Gold Crown
I had a different experience with The Distant Land of My Father than many of the other readers. I applaud Caldwell's detailed research and imagination until about the center of the book. She truly captures a small child's fascination with her parents. However, the book takes too many wide turns. It jumps from an extremely impersonal narration of events that happen to Anna's father to overly emotional moments at home. She creates quality descriptions for the first maybe 250 pages of the book and then its one Lifetime event after another. Her baby, her mother's illness, her father's sudden presence. The emotional experiences are problematic because half-way through the book you realize that Genevieve and Joseph Schoen's characters are not very well-developed even though the whole book centers around Anna's longing for her father. The characters are so stereotypical in some ways..the absent father, the codependent mother, the all-knowing grandmother. The perfect new husband that teaches middle school. While I am truly grateful to have read the book overall, for some reason I lost interest after about 250 pages when the book became a mini soap box. I hope that my sense of being pandered to emotionally was simply a misjudgement. I think afficionados of historical fiction will enjoy some of this book.
I loved The Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell. I will always have pictures in my head of Shanghai. Today and the descriptions of what it used to look like. How would you feel if the Country from where you live says you can no longer live there anymore. The protagonist of this book lives in Shanghai when she is a young child. She is a likeable and relatable character. This historical novel follows the protagonist and her father from Shanghai to California. Poignant, timeless themes about family relationships. I highly recommend this to all those who enjoy historical fiction and family dynamics.
I found this book through Bookbub. It looked sort of interesting, and for only 1.99 I thought "Why not?" Wow. This was by far one of my favorite books to read lately - possibly one of my all-time favorites. I did not know much about Shanghai, or the occupation of China by Japan, but now I am more interested in learning about that period of history. I felt the book was well-written, and the character of Anna well developed. Since it was written from Anna's point of view, it seems only logical that hers is the most developed character. She was very likable and relatable, possibly because I too have lost a father.

Well worth the money I paid, even if it had been at full price.
I enjoyed learning about China and Japan relationship prior to WWII and it's impact on visiting families in the area of Shanghai. The complicated relationship between a daughter and her father as they go through several changes in their living arrangements while dealing with political uncertainty is the theme that ties the entire book together. The father's optimistic entrepreneurial spirit and it's impact on his decisions to Stacy in China during the unrest is played out in vivid detail. Swinging between millions of dollars and destitute survival show the strength of the human spirit.
This review is actually for the Kindle version but I couldn't see a button to press on that page that allowed me to write a review there.

I rated this book 5 stars for the fact that it made me think so much about the characters and what motivated them. This would be an excellent book for a group as there is a lot to talk about and it would be interesting to hear what others thought about the book.

My reaction is that Anna's father Joe is one of the most conflicted, self absorbed, yet charasmatic characters I have read about in a . . . . well I can't remember when a character made me like him, deeply dislike him and at times felt very sorry for him. In spite of flashes of intelligence I thought he was really rather dumb and certainly clueless and insensitive about how his actions effected others, especially his family. Still, I had to like him. sigh

Where this book really shone for me was in time and place. Bo Caldwell did a marvelous job of putting the reader in Shanghi during WW2 and the years leading up to it. I think she accurately described the mind set of the international community during those days.

This was not an easy read for me in that my emotions were be engaged on almost every page. Even when the action was slow I could feel the tension and undercurrents swirling around the characters and the feeling of waiting for the shoe to drop. I highly recommend this book.
Very interesting and entertaining book, with surprisingly accurate details of old Shanghai from an author who has never been to China. Good story. The few minor detail errors are insignificant (Shanghai residents and locals/servants spoke Shanghainese, not Mandarin - quite different dialects, as is Cantonese and so many others - young children had 'baby amahs' and male servants/cooks etc. would never have been in charge of a female child) and do not detract from an excellent read.
The description of the prison for enemy nationals of 'special interest' was relatively accurate, if perhaps not quite as bad as the book suggested. The 'main' camp for enemy nationals was in "Pu Tung" (old name - across the river from the Bund, where the tower is today) and was reasonably civilized, with occasional Red Cross parcels making their way through).
While the Cercle Sportif/French Club in the French Concession catered mainly to the French, the description of tea dances would bring back pleasant memories to anyone that was there, from the Paramount Dance Hall and the sprung dance- floors at the Cathay Hotel to the Jazz music of Lobing Samson at Ciro's.