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The Love Wife
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The Love Wife

By Gish Jen
2004, 379 pages, Hardback.
Book Description from the Front Cover Flap
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About the Author

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Book Description from the Front Cover Flap

From the highly praised author of Mona in the Promised Land and Who's Irish?–a generous, funny, explosive novel about the new "half-half" American family.

Here is Carnegie Wong, second-generation Chinese American warm heart and funny guy. Here is his WASP wife, the delicious "za-za-vavoomy" Blondie. Here are their two adopted Asian daughters, and their half-half bio son. And here is Mama Wong, Carnegie's no-holds-barred mother, who, eternally opposed to his marriage, has arranged from her grave for a mainland Chinese relation to come look after the kids. Is this woman, as Carnegie claims, a nanny? Or is she, as Blondie fears, something else?

What happens as Carnegie and Blondie try to incorporate the ambiguous new arrival into their already complicated lives is touchingly, brilliantly, intricately told.

Powerfully evoking the contemporary American family in all its fragility and strength, Gish Jen has given us her most exuberant and accomplished novel.

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Comments from Back Cover

"What a truly satisfying read The Love Wife is. As I got to know the Wongs–a family like more and more American families–I loved each one of them. Hearing their multi-lingual voices and participating in their delights and sadnesses, their fun and troubles, I felt my own understanding and kindness grow. A wonderful book."
Maxine Hong Kingston

"I've been reading and marveling . . . Her characters are so alive that one can hardly call them 'characters.' Blondie, Mama Wong, Carnegie, Lizzy, Wendy, and, oh, Lan! I didn't want to part from them: here is a novel so insightful, so satisfying, that it ought never to have ended. The interlude in China, the ingenuity of the narration, the tenderness, the all-observing comedy, the darker elements, the perfect-pitch dialogue, the domestic exactitude, the surprises! Having lived for a time (too brief a time) with Gish's people as with one's own family, one comes to love them."
Cynthia Ozick

"It's hard to find a novel that seems, at once, so funny and so touching that one really is dumbstruck with admiration. The Love Wife, with its fragmented narrative, its feast of voices, summons a strange new American reality and declares it pure. I read the book in three sittings, and plan to start it all over again soon, hating to leave this world, these characters, this vision."
Jay Parini

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Background on Gish Jen

Gish Jen is the author of two previous novels and a book of stories. Her honors include the Lannan Award for Fiction and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives with her husband and two children in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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