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Monday, April 18, 2011

Review of Song of The Silk Road by Mingmei Yip

Publisher: Kensington

Release Date: April 1st, 2011

More Info: Amazon

Book Blurb:

In this richly imaginative novel, Mingmei Yip--author of Peach Blossom Pavilion and Petals From the Sky--follows one woman's daunting journey along China's fabled Silk Road.
As a girl growing up in Hong Kong, Lily Lin was captivated by photographs of the desert--its long, lonely vistas and shifting sand dunes. Now living in New York, Lily is struggling to finish her graduate degree when she receives an astonishing offer. An aunt she never knew existed will pay Lily a huge sum to travel across China's desolate Taklamakan Desert--and carry out a series of tasks along the way. 

Intrigued, Lily accepts. Her assignments range from the dangerous to the bizarre. Lily must seduce a monk. She must scrape a piece of clay from the famous Terracotta Warriors, and climb the Mountains of Heaven to gather a rare herb. At Xian, her first stop, Lily meets Alex, a young American with whom she forms a powerful connection. And soon, she faces revelations that will redefine her past, her destiny, and the shocking truth behind her aunt's motivations. . . 

Powerful and eloquent, Song of the Silk Road is a captivating story of self-discovery, resonant with the mysteries of its haunting, exotic landscape.


"Lovely, provocative. . .book clubs will be fascinated." --Bestselling Author M.J. Rose

Contains mild sexual explicitness

My Thoughts:
I have to say based on the description of this novel, I expected a more contemporary prose. Instead, it's a  mix of traditional (or so I assume) Chinese influences, and modern day writing. The result was at times   erratic. I had a hard time connecting with Lily, the main character, and the story as a whole. Lily just wasn't likable enough for me. She seemed to be very self centered and motivated by all the wrong things. She made some poor choices regarding men and laid the blame everywhere but where it belonged.
 
Lily is not only a contemporary American woman but is sexually liberal…her character is very free with sexuality, obscenities and morals. The theme of sexuality is explored at great length and may be a turn off for more conservative readers. I didn't mind it but I did have a problem with Yip's coy use of euphemisms for body parts, sex acts, etc. It wasn't the use of euphemisms that bothered me, that's normal and I'm fine with it; to be honest, I'm not sure if the phrases are how Yip would normally talk or if they are, and this is probable, a reflection of how a woman raised in contemporary Hong Kong would talk. It's a bit jolting hearing them from a woman in the contemporary US, for instance she refers to a penis as a "yang instrument" and "a snake" and her vagina as "a snake hole". Eeeew. For me, it was very jarring; other readers it may not bother.

There is a love story between Lily and the "soul mate" she finds on her journey. At first I had trouble believing in their relationship, given the age difference (and before you squawk, there's 11.5 years between my father and stepmother so I'm used to it), the "love at first sight" trope, and his somewhat stalkerish behavior at first.

The journey consists of both her physical journey through China and the emotional journey that results from what she encounters and learns. Unfortunately, while it did make me curious about China and it's history, I never really cared about Lily and her personal journey.

This paperback was received from the publisher for review.

1 comment:

  1. I have enjoyed several of her books and look forward to reading more.

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