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From The CriticsIn this collection, filled with vivid descriptions, Rekdal takes a journey through locales ranging from Beijing, China, to Natchez, Mississippi, and embarks on a personal and cultural exploration as well. The daughter of a Chinese mother and a Norwegian father, Rekdal wrestles with choosing which culture she relates to most powerfully, even telling her mother that she would rather be "full or nothing." In each essay, the author splices an often whimsical story—about, for example, her time spent teaching English at Usok Girls' High School in Chonju, South Korea, and her mission to find her great-aunt Opal's Chinese roots in Natchez—with difficult truths about ethnicity. Rekdal doesn't hold back: Her family and friends, her travels and her own shortcomings are scrutinized in the same piercing light. While she recognizes in the end that she cannot choose one identity without losing half of herself, even her painful discoveries are mitigated by the freshness and vitality of her voice.
—E. Beth Thomas