This is a very meaty book, covering all sorts of ground. Miranda and Lucia (Jie and Mei) are Chinese sisters raised by their single mother in the US. The girls are very close. Lucia marries an older one-armed Israeli who runs an organic deli in NY. Despite their differences, it works. The trouble in Paradise that changes everything is Lucia’s mental illness. It changes a lot of lives.
Author Mira T Lee takes us on a compelling journey as Lucia, wanting a child, leaves Yonah, hooks up with an illegal immigrant from Ecuador, has a baby girl Esperanza, has breakdowns, recovers, fights with her sister and partner about taking her pills, moves to Ecuador to live in a traditional campo, doesn’t quite fit in, plots to take Essie and go back to the States to live with Yonah ... and so on. Miranda meanwhile, marries a Swiss doctor and moves to Switzerland. Lee’s understanding of mental illness is profound, both from the point of view of the sufferers and those close to them. Miranda in particular examines her conscience, wondering how things would have turned out had she acted differently.
Many things are beautifully portrayed. The fear illegals live with. Life in rural Ecuador. The shifts in people’s lives as folk make decisions about where to live and what to do. How the illness can affect a sibling’s marriage. How the life of a simple, good man can be changed utterly. How relationships change. It’s done with great skill and seeming effortlessness. As a meditation on life itself it will no doubt become one of our most revered books, and I don’t say that lightly. It’s deeply affecting.
- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Viking; 1 edition (29 January 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780525558231
- ISBN-13: 978-0525558231
- ASIN: 0525558233
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.3 x 23.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 299 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 269,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)