Hey Savvy Readers!
We have seen some truly AMAZING books out there this year (and it’s only March!). This Featured Read can for sure count itself among the greats! Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang, is, simply put, a beautiful novel. The novel deals with identity, otherness, race and struggle. With a hint of the magical. It combines the real with the ethereal and it was a truly enjoyable experience.
The story follows a young girl named Jialing in early twentieth century China. Her mother has just left, with Jialing believing she is coming back. My heart broke for Jialing, because as a reader we know that her mother is gone.
When the new tenants of the house move in, they find Jialing and see that she is zazhong, —an ugly word for mixed race—Jialing is Chinese and European. Jialing starts to realize why her mother may have left her, and it’s heartbreaking the way Jialing has to harden her heart and not let herself hope. I respected her character for that, she was just so realistic.
Throughout the story, Jialing’s constant companion is a fox spirit who she calls Fox. They meet up and talk all the time. Fox can make her forget, make her see and experience the past, and Fox can change her shape to a woman, man, or child. Fox cares for Jialing and helps her situation when she can, and in return Jialing sees Fox as an escape from her life, as Fox doesn’t judge her by the way she looks, like the world does.
Their relationship was a wonderful addition to Jialing’s story, it gave the novel that extra something. I loved Fox’s glimpses into the past, and just knowing that she was there to watch over Jialing, whose life is hard enough as it is. Though a simple story of a girl growing up, the story stuck with me. It was serene and peaceful. The writing had such an emphasis on description and setting that I found it hard to pull myself out of Jialing’s world.
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