Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Rachel Dewoskin's Repeat After Me ~ Reviewed
Repeat After Me: A Novel
by Rachel DeWoskin
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Overlook Hardcover (May 14, 2009)
A dazzlingly rich and funny novel by "a real China doll" (Entertainment Weekly)
Rachel DeWoskin is a writer who has been lauded for her "razor-sharp descriptions" (The Wall Street Journal), her "considerable cultural and linguistic resources" (The New Yorker), and her rare ability to offer a "real insider's look at life in modern China" (The Economist). Now DeWoskin, author of the laughout-loud funny and poignant Foreign Babes in Beijing, returns with a new novel about modern China and one American girl's struggle to find herself there.
Aysha is a twenty-two-year-old New Yorker putting the pieces of her life back in place after her parents' divorce and her own nervous breakdown when a young Chinese student named Da Ge flips her world upside-down. In a love story that spans decades and continents, from the Tiananmen Square incident to 9/11, New York City's Upper West Side to the terraced mountains of South China, Repeat After Me gives readers an alternately funny and painful glimpse of life and loss in between languages.
One person can make such a difference in our lives. With raw poignancy, DeWoskin, paints how the choices of other people in our lives can color or shadow our futures and pasts. Ashya teaches ESL and falls for a troubled young man. As their story unfolds over a period of seasons, months and years, I found myself drawn into her life whether in a New York apartment or camping on the Great Wall. With horror and sorrow I peeked through my fingers as things spiraled out of control and into hopelessness and with relief and a cheer I watched Ashya embrace life and grow.
Very well written prose, strong characters and compelling story, this is a great read. Mature themes and heavy situations/relationships make it solidly R-rated and definitely not light fare.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer