Joss and Gold
Joss and Gold
Shirley Geok-lin Lim
This award-winning novel tells a modern Madame Butterfly story with humor and grace.
At the center of this engaging "un-love" story is Li An, a smart and strong-willed Malaysian woman of Chinese descent. The conflicts that surround Li An in the politically charged atmosphere of Kuala Lumpur in 1969 intersect with her own internal contradictions: although she supports her nation's struggle to build its own identity after decades of British colonial rule, she cannot renounce her love for the English poetry that she teaches. And although she aspires to be a new kind of Asian woman—independent and unsentimental—she finds herself married to the safe and dependable Henry, and attracted to an American Peace Corps volunteer, Chester.
As Lim's characters try to find a way back to their pasts and each other, they are caught up in the larger tensions between East and West, women and men, freedom and responsibility. With insight and wit, Lim shows us that what we expect may not always be what we get, but all roads lead us, ultimately, to our deepest selves.
"How to deal with what the white man has left behind? For Shirley Geok-lin Lim, this is a question not only about geopolitics but also about gender politics. . . . This elegantly crafted tale places Lim among the most imaginative and dexterous storytellers writing in the English language today." —Rey Chow, author of Primitive Passions
"This felicitous novel is several books in one—Madame Butterfly transplanted to Malaysia, a feminist manifesto, and a commentary on the new Southeast Asia that has been emerging in recent years. Lim has woven these strands together in a colorful batik that is dazzling." —Hisaye Yamamoto, author of Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories
"A gripping novel centered around a strong, language-struck, culture-crossing Asian woman's quest for independence. . . . A daring, sensuous, and pungent first novel." —Rob Wilson, author of Reimagining the American Pacific
"Lim's rich, earthy writing combines the nuance of a poet with the ear of a born storyteller. Joss and Gold is compelling, provocative, and fascinating." —Julia Watson, coeditor of Women, Autobiography, Theory