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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
A young American missionary experiences the darker side of human nature -- including his own -- in this intense, spellbinding novel.
Vincent Saunders is a fairly naïve 25-year-old when he leaves the homogeneity of his Illinois hometown to help establish a ministry in a small Taiwanese village. Dedicated to the spread of Christianity, Vincent believes in his ability to "see deeply into other people's lives and offer them a love and wisdom they might not even have known they were seeking." But far away from the trappings that helped anchor his faith, he succumbs to the physical allures of a female student and suffers a beating from her protective brother. Rather than repent and face the wrath of his new community, Vincent decides to help a wealthy Taiwanese businessman arrange an illicit marriage with a Chinese woman, and finds himself whisked off across the vast expanse of Mainland China. Vincent's travels take him through affluent cities and remote towns of squalor and misery, and provide him with ample time to ruminate on the new path his life has taken. And though Vincent has numerous opportunities to return home, he resists them.
A world traveler and a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Dalton writes with clarity and precision and brings forth a novel that reflects both his deep familiarity with Asian culture and his exquisite craftsmanship. (Summer 2004 Selection)