eBook Bone download
Author: Fae Myenne Ng
ISBN: 1401309534
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Pages 208 pages
Publisher Hachette Books; Reprint edition (May 13, 2008)
Language English
Category: Fiction
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 572
ePUB size: 1905 kb
FB2 size: 1655 kb
DJVU size: 1812 kb
Other formats: mobi azw rtf mbr

eBook Bone download

by Fae Myenne Ng

"We were a family of three girls. By Chinese standards, that wasn't lucky. In Chinatown, everyone knew our story. Outsiders jerked their chins, looked at us, shook their heads. We heard things."In this profoundly moving novel, Fae Myenne Ng takes readers into the hidden heart of San Francisco's Chinatown, to the world of one family's honor, their secrets, and the lost bones of a "paper father." Two generations of the Leong family live in an uneasy tension as they try to fathom the source of a brave young girl's sorrow.Oldest daughter Leila tells the story: of her sister Ona, who has ended her young, conflicted life by jumping from the roof of a Chinatown housing project; of her mother Mah, a seamstress in a garment shop run by a "Chinese Elvis"; of Leon, her father, a merchant seaman who ships out frequently; and the family's youngest, Nina, who has escaped to New York by working as a flight attendant. With Ona and Nina gone, it is up to Leila to lay the bones of the family's collective guilt to rest, and find some way to hope again.Fae Myenne Ng's luminous debut explores what it means to be a stranger in one's own family, a foreigner in one's own neighborhood--and whether it's possible to love a place that may never feel quite like home.
Let me start off by saying Bone by Fae Myenne Ng is a good novel. The storyline is interesting, the characters are real, and the choice of words Ng uses to convey ideas to the reader are clean and beautiful. I gave the book 3.5 stars out of 5, though on GoodReads, it will show up as 3 for obvious reasons.

This is the story of two generations in a Chinese family in America. The story is told from the point of view of the eldest child, Leila, who recounts the problems/ issues that plague the family. At the start of the story, we are old that the middle child, Ona, committed suicide. That is not a spoiler- that fact literally hits you in the face on the first page, in the first sentence. But Ona is not the only one with issues in this family. Every single one of them has them, and Leila looks back over the years with her family to understand where it all began.

A theme I initially found was the strong desire for the characters to maintain their family. There was the desire to want to impress and feel like family. However, as members took on other members issues, the burdens with time, took their toll and caused each member to “drift apart”. Leila, the eldest, internalized her step- father and mother’s issues. Ona internalized her father’s issues, and Nina, the last -born, felt the burdens and later decided, that her parents’ issues should be their OWN issues, not hers. So there is some character development that is observed later in the novel.

Ng’s style of writing is expressive, yet not cluttered with words. Her succinct descriptions of characters, events and locations paint a picture for readers, but at the same time, allow for readers to draw on their own personal experiences to help them understand what is taking place. One thing I found unique was how Ng allowed readers into some of the personal issues of the characters, and others she left to be private.

Some reviewers noted they were turned off by the narration moving forward and then moving back in history with no warning. I did not have an issue with this and rather saw the transition as a reflection on the current situation. I did not find it distracting, but to each, his own.
From its single-word title to its Memento-like structure, Ng's impressive first novel (published nearly twenty years ago) runs the risk of suffering from a case of metaphorical overload. Ostensibly, the title refers to a Chinese immigrant tradition of returning their bones to China for burial. Yet, just as obviously, the prose, the dialogue, the characters--all are stripped to the bone as we read the story of Leila and her family in reverse, layer after layer exposed as we move back to the moment that changed everything, when her sister Ona committed suicide. Exposed again, this family's wound is raw and toxic, but "Bone" is more than a novel about one young woman's suicide; it is a study of three sisters and especially of their parents, who have worked themselves to the bone to survive.

With one sister dead and another living in New York, Leila is left to deal with stepfather and mother. Leon had spent most of his life away for months at a time, working as a seaman or on the docks; his lack of business sense and fiscal acumen leads Mah, his wife, to work horrid hours in a San Francisco sweatshop until she is finally able to open her own haberdashery. Their marriage even before the tragedy is a familiar form of détente, a loving and grudging respect that persists in spite of the fact that they drive each other crazy. Mah had married her first husband "to escape the war-torn villages" of China; when he abandoned her, she married Leon to escape disgrace; and, constrained by their parents' immigrant traditions and suffocated by their emotional neediness, their three daughters seek their own forms of escape: "one unmarried, one who-cares-where, one dead."

I worry that I've made the novel sound too mawkish and labored; it isn't. For a novel with such a melancholy core, it is surprisingly spry and the prose somehow works an uneasy balance between charming and caustic. There are some lovely set pieces: Ng's wry description of Leila's visit to the Hoy Sun Ning Yung Benevolent Association; a heart-breaking scene in which the suddenly aged Leon can't find the grave of the man who sponsored his American entry papers; and the engaging opening chapter, in which Leila wanders the city streets, interrogating its less industrious denizens to learn the whereabouts of her idle stepfather. Leila's boyfriend, while improbably saintlike and patient, also adds light to the darkness.

"The oldtimers believe we have a heavenly weight, and that our fates can be divined by the weighing of our bones." But the traditions are falling away, the bones are missing, and (even after we've gone back in time) Ona is still dead. It is only by coming to terms with the past that the members of this family can realize the truth of what Mah's friends had told her when she returned for a visit to Hong Kong: "to live in America was to have a future."
I was assigned this novel for an Asian Literature course. I really enjoyed this novel. The type of book I can finish in one sitting! I consider myself a rather slow reader as I like to critique things and make notes, but this novel took me about 6 hours to finish.

The story surrounds three daughters, a step-father, and a mother. The male character "Leon" is the biological father of two girls (Ona & Nina), however, he is the step-father of the central character "Leila," but the two are very close. He is closer to her than to his biological daughters.

This is a story about infidelity, life, loss, and self sovereignty. This book tests the strength and bond of a family after the suicide of a daughter/sister, and a cheating spouse.

Definitely a good story line!
This is a beautifully written book. Ng gives us an intimate portrait of a family living in San Francisco's Chinatown, capturing what, to this reader, feels like completely authentic portraits of various members of the family, the differences of gender and generation and their roles in a complex Chinese community, all handled with admirable economy. I'm in awe of Ng's ability to give us such a vivid sense experience of life in Chinatown-- the tragic, the comic and the eccentric-- all the while moving deeper into the emotional lives of her characters and moving the story along at a bracing clip. I highly recommend this wonderful book.
Ordered this for a class and it is a very good book, not usually my genre but it's a very interesting look into the life of first generation American children of immigrants.
How to read this novel for a college course. It was an average book.
It's good! I would recommend to a friend!