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Dreams of Joy Paperback – 10 May 2012


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Dreams of Joy + Shanghai Girls + Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (10 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408822601
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408822609
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 169,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Deep and unforgettable . . . one of the best depictions of the true spirit of motherhood you'll ever see in fiction' (LA Times)

'A saga that presses topical buttons ... there is plenty of high emotion and heartbreak, plus the fascination of its setting' (Sunday Times)

'Once again, See's research feels impeccable, and she has created an authentic, visually arresting world' (Washington Post)

'See paints a vivid portrait of communist China. Her rich detail and astonishing research of the time is breathtaking' (USA Today)

Book Description

The Number One New York Times bestseller

A tale of two mothers, one daughter and a fatherland on the brink of catastrophe...

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Blue Moon on 28 Jun. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
In the 1950's Nineteen year old Joy Louie runs away from her American home to search for her real father who is a famous artist living in Shanghai.She doesn't know who she can trust as she was told that the woman she thought was her mother is her aunt, and her aunt is her mother.Confusing but all will become clear as you read the story.
The story takes place during the rule of Chairman Mao and he has just launched his Great Leap Forward.It follows Joy through her frightening experiences as she journeys from America to China and eventually to Green Dragon Village.
What happens there I can only describe as a heartbreaking existence in a rural commune that is facing starvation.
However a handsome young comrade catches her eye and life is filled with a new sense of hope. Aunt Pearl arrives in China to try and bring her daughter back home, and the adventure continues.
This is wonderful epic journey which had me mesmorised as the story unfolded page by page.
If like me you didn't know much about the the Great Leap Forward in 1950's China this has been well researched by Lisa See and I'm so pleased that I read this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ursula K. Raphael TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 15 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
In the previous novel, Shanghai Girls, Pearl and May are forced into arranged marriages, which lead to the sisters living in America. Eventually they find happiness in their new lives, after several traumatic events, but they are accused of spying for Communist China & this tears the family apart.

Pearl and May have been keeping a lot of secrets, and at the end of the first novel, Pearl's daughter Joy makes several discoveries. She becomes furious with her mother and Aunt May, and makes a drastic decision to leave her home.

I was really critical of Pearl's sudden revelations at the end of Shanghai Girls, and I felt that the ending was too blunt; I didn't know that there would be a sequel, but I still think the ending of the first novel could have been written better.

Having ripped on Lisa See over just one part of Shanghai Girls, I felt I should read Dreams of Joy to be fair to the author. Not being a fan, I can honestly say that Dreams of Joy is one of the best novels I have read in 2011. I read it in one sitting, and was so moved by the plights of Pearl and Joy that I have been dreaming about the characters and settings for several nights in a row. I cannot get the imagery out of my head.

Joy finds her biological father, ZG, and goes to the countryside with him, where she works in the fields. It's a culture shock for Joy, but she embraces her new life. Pearl tries to follow Joy's trail, but she is apprehended by the authorities, and must convince them that she is not a traitor or spy. Pearl also hides the fact that she is looking for her American-born daughter.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sam on 2 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
Dreams of Joy is the sequel to Shanghai Girls. Those of you who have read Shanghai Girls will remember that Joy had just found out that her mother Pearl isn't really her mother at all but her aunt, and that her biological father is an artist still living in China. With the impulsiveness and surety of youth, Joy gives up her American life and travels to Communist China to 'help build the New China'. Looking at everything through rose-tinted glasses, she thinks she has found a rural idyll and a simple life far away from the consumerism and prejudice she has experienced in America. So she thinks nothing of surrendering her passport, of losing her ability to travel around China, of falling in love with a man from the village (now Dandelion Commune number eight). Pearl, with the wisdom of experience, can see the trouble her daughter is involving herself with and also abandons everything to travel to China in an attempt to bring her home.

I was apprehensive about reading Dreams of Joy, as I enjoyed Shanghai Girls so much, but I shouldn't have worried - I loved it. Throughout the whole first half of the book, as Joy embraced Communist China and commune life and all it stood for I wanted to reach through the book and shake her. Having studied The Great Leap Forward and Communist China, I had a great sense of foreboding and was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Joy is so headstrong and so determined to love everything about China and village life that she is beyond being made to see otherwise, and at a certain point, Pearl has to let her make her own mistakes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lauren K. on 12 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
When I pick up a book by Lisa See, I know that ironically as it sounds with her works of fiction, I will experience several moments of intense truth. Truth about the times, the setting, the motivations, and the basics of human nature in trying circumstances. This book placed me on edge from page one, as I traveled with Joy to Communist China, and experienced the intense world of corruption and glamor. If art is meant to inspire feelings, then this book truly succeeded as a work of art.

Liz R. Newman, Author of An Affinity for Shadows
[...]
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