Author: Jamie Ford
Published by: Atria Books on Aug. 2, 2022
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: ARC, Paperback
Source: Simon & Schuster Canada
Book Rating: 8.5/10
The New York Times bestselling author of the “mesmerizing and evocative” (Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants) Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet returns with a powerful exploration of the love that binds one family across the generations.
Dorothy Moy breaks her own heart for a living.
As Washington’s former poet laureate, that’s how she describes channeling her dissociative episodes and mental health struggles into her art. But when her five-year-old daughter exhibits similar behavior and begins remembering things from the lives of their ancestors, Dorothy believes the past has truly come to haunt her. Fearing that her child is predestined to endure the same debilitating depression that has marked her own life, Dorothy seeks radical help.
Through an experimental treatment designed to mitigate inherited trauma, Dorothy intimately connects with past generations of women in her family: Faye Moy, a nurse in China serving with the Flying Tigers; Zoe Moy, a student in England at a famous school with no rules; Lai King Moy, a girl quarantined in San Francisco during a plague epidemic; Greta Moy, a tech executive with a unique dating app; and Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to set foot in America.
As painful recollections affect her present life, Dorothy discovers that trauma isn’t the only thing she’s inherited. A stranger is searching for her in each time period. A stranger who’s loved her through all of her genetic memories. Dorothy endeavors to break the cycle of pain and abandonment, to finally find peace for her daughter, and gain the love that has long been waiting, knowing she may pay the ultimate price.
Sentimental, thought-provoking, and memorable!
The Many Daughters of Afong Moy is an intriguing novel that takes you into the lives of seven generations of Moy women over a two hundred and fifty-year span, from Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to live on American soil, to Dorothy, a young woman determined to do whatever it takes, even experimental research, to discover the source of her distress and hallucinations in order to protect her daughter from suffering a similar fate.
The prose is expressive and eloquent. The characters are conflicted, fragile, and raw. And the plot told in a back-and-forth, past/future style is a compelling tale of life, loss, love, family, friendship, tragedy, mental illness, discrimination, self-discovery, desperation, heartbreak, self-preservation, anamnesis, and epigenetics.
Overall, The Many Daughters of Afong Moy made me think, made me feel, and resonated long after the final page. It’s a unique, emotional, absorbing tale by Ford that raises some interesting questions about what emotional trauma on top of our physical traits we may actually be inheriting as well as passing down.
This novel is available now.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.