The Spy Lover Paperback – 28 Aug 2012
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About the Author
Kiana Davenport is the author of the best-selling novels House of Many Gods, Song of the Exile, and Shark Dialogues, and two story collections, House of Skin and Cannibal Nights. A Native Hawaiian, her novels and stories have won numerous awards and have been translated into twenty languages.
Top Customer Reviews
The triple-stranded story tells of Johnny Tom, a Chinese man who eventually finds himself fighting in the Union Army against the Confederate South, hoping to gain citizenship and be re-united with his wife and daughter. Meanwhile his daughter, Era Tom, has become a nurse, using the neutrality of her position to spy for the Union. She did not, however, expect to fall in love with one of her Confederate patients...
Davenport presents a wonderfully sweeping account of her character's lives and experiences; Johnny's escape from the hardships of China only to encounter the brutal racial prejudices and cruelties of slavery in America; the glittering and horrific spectacles of the Civil War and the torturous psychological dilemmas Era faces in spying for one side but living and sharing the hardships of the other.
The author`s prose is at times lyrical and beautifully descriptive; her grasp of the historical setting impressive; she clearly and accurately relates the facts of the military engagements her characters are party and witness to; even relatively minor details in the grand order of these massive historical events - like the fate of the hundreds of thousands of wartime photographic plates; the South's clandestine poppy fields used for opium production, the care required for the overwhelming numbers of disabled after the war - all are factually-based elements woven into her narrative.Read more ›
Long on the American civil war this story at times reads like a distillation of excessive research. The detail grounds this tale and breathes life into the central characters, at the cost of loosing the reader in the blood and gore of combat.
I understand a little better now how the American civil war divided and gave hope to many, only to be disillusioned.
The ending was I thought appropriate, a healing and a future after the horror of civil war.
A good book, worth reading, a worthy reminder of the horrors of civil war and the eternal nature of lover across the divide.
There is a Chinese family that comes from a village in a swamp area, in the valley of the might Yellow River, but there is no water. No-one in the village can make fire. I am not sure whether it is meant to be a parasitic worm or a woman's own intestines that are pulled out of a woman and shared among the villagers to eat. Whatever it is, it should not have eyes and a head the size of a man's thumb.
We are asked to believe that soldiers are deliberately risking their own lives by fermenting the bodies of dead prisoners, not to mention ignoring the putrid stench.
Valuable gasoline is squandered in an extravagant vile execution of a spy.
One of the oddest early descriptions is " ... buzzards in the distance swooning over corpses of horses and mules." Perhaps swooning means something quite different in America.
The prose style is semi-poetic, which makes it much more of an effort to digest. The writer further complicates by jolting between past and present, and North and South.
Identifying with the characters I found to be quite impossible.
The stories do at least make steady progress: I can say nothing more positive than that.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Did not like this book, so I deleted it. Not the sought of thing I would normally read.Published 14 months ago by Woody
Beautifully written, incredible detail which transports you to the horrors of the civil war. Enjoy this book as I certainly did.Published 14 months ago by sam Thompson
Certainly different, lots of history, lots of humanity. The American Civil War as I'm sure out was, tragic and violent.Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
Quite an eye opener, I was aware of some aspects of this war but not to this extent.Published 16 months ago by Mrs T