Friday, May 08, 2009


I finished reading The Foreigner, Francie Lin's Edgar winning debut novel, and I can now see why it won. 
The exotic but corrupt location, the very powerful themes of family loyalty and respect, and the terrible crimes related in the latter part of the book all make this a moving read. But also the reader is educated by the characters Atticus and Angel into the politics of Taiwan and there are some interesting passages;

It says Taiwan was refused entry into the WHO for diplomatic reasons. Meaning for fear of offending China.......
China prefers we die rather than let us go. Other countries, they prefer that we die rather than risk offending China.

The story is spoilt for me in that the narrator Emerson Chang is pusillanimous and more than one occasion cannot see what is staring him in the face. I get the impression that the very attractive Francie Lin has had some 'Emersons' in her life and had to write this novel to get this sharply drawn character out of her system. 
It was not the fact that Emerson was not physically brave but his unwillingness to accept the truth about his brother, Little P, that I found a bit strange. 
Perhaps in her next novel Francie Lin will give us a more intuitive protagonist.


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