Ng, Fae Myenne. Bone. Harper Perennial, 1993.
Reason read: September is the month for the Autumn Festival for China.
Here’s what you need to understand first and foremost. This is a story built around grief. Ona, the middle sister, jumped off the M floor of the Nam. M happens to be the thirteenth floor. Unlucky, unforgivable thirteen. Everything that happens to her surviving family centers on this one fact. Ona jumped. Everything is marked by the time Before Ona Jumped and the time After Ona Jumped. Confessional: I am like that, too. When I hear a specific date, I quickly do the math to determine if it is A.D.D. (after dad’s death) or before – B.D.D. Leila is the eldest of three daughters and the one most constrained by old China values versus modern American China. She is aware of the boldness of her actions (eloping when her ancestors had childbride arranged marriages), but she isn’t the boldest of the family. All three sisters are responsible for Mah’s shame. Her sister Ona committed suicide (shame) and her sister, Nina, had an abortion (shame). Even Mah carries shame (an affair while her second husband was away at sea as a merchant marine). Told from the perspective of Lei, she has to make a decision between dating and duty; between marriage with Mason and Mah. Having both seems impossible.
Lines I really liked: sorry. Can’t quote them.
Author fact: Ng has been compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Book trivia: As an aside, my internet copy of Bone was marked up. Every highlighted area made me think I needed to pay close attention to that specific passage.
Nancy said: nothing specific.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in two different chapters. Once in “Asian American Experience” (p 26). The second time in “California, Here We Come” (p 50).