Sixty-eight-year-old Hattie Kong, descendant of Confucius, daughter of an American missionary, has lived to see both her husband and her best friend die back-to-back in a single year: “It was like having twins…She got to book the same church with the same pianist for both funerals and did think she should have gotten some sort of twofer from the crematorium.”
But two years later, it’s time for Hattie to start over. She moves to a small New England town where she is soon joined by a Cambodian American family and an ex-lover—now a retired neuroscientist—all of them looking for their own new lives.
What Hattie makes of this situation and of the changing town of Riverlake—challenged as it is, in 2001, by fundamentalist Christians, struggling family farms, and unexpected immigrants—lies at the center of a novel that asks deep and absorbing questions about religion, home, and what “worlds” we make of the world.
Moving, humorous, and broad-ranging, World and Town is rich in character and brilliantly evocative of its time and place. This is a masterful novel from one of our most admired writers.
I eagerly bought this bought because it was read by Janet Song, who provides brilliant narration of Lisa See's books. However, I was sorely disappointed. Although Ms. Song does a good enough job (with what she's got), several of the chapters of the book were excruciating to listen to, because of the way they were written. The chapters where the characters speak in their own voice (as opposed to straight narration), were particularly tedious (one character, it seemed, repeated everything twice; another started every other sentence with "he like said this or she like did that".) I couldn't wait for the book to end, and I'm sorry I wasted my credits.
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This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
If you are looking for religion bashing ~ this one's for you!
Has World and Town turned you off from other books in this genre?
I will stick with better trusted authors. I always want to read new authors in the genres I enjoy. This one didn't do it.
What three words best describe Janet Song’s voice?
Realistic, believable, pleasant
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from World and Town?
Just the whole premise of the book!
Any additional comments?
It is SOOO disappointing to read the description of the book and then it is nothing like the sales pitch. The characters in this book spend the time questioning the "church lady" and her intentions in befriending the young character. She influences her to burn down a building, lie to everyone, point suspicions at others. Then the question is asked about the young girl, "Is she becoming a creationist?" Horrors!!! There are enough religion bashing books who proclaim to do just that. We don't need these closet ones who take the money and sell a bill of goods.
I really wish I could get my money back!!!
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