Monday, September 27, 2010

The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang

Mei Wang is officially an information consultant, because in Beijing in the late 1990s it is illegal to operate a detective agency. Uncle Chen, an old friend of her mother's, asks Mei to find a piece of jade that may be surfacing on the black market. Mei's investigations turn up more than she expected; secrets from her own family history.

Beijing-born author Diane Wei Liang wonderfully evokes the chaotic setting and complex culture of modern China. The relationships between Mei and her family and friends are also very well developed. Liang's writing style combines dialogue that moves the story forward with lyrical passages: "Night was like a magic brush, blacking out all the ugliness so that the hour of love and longing could unfold." Highly recommended.

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