Night of Many Dreams: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview


As World War II threatens their comfortable life in Hong Kong, young Joan and Emma Lew escape with their family to spend the war years in Macao. When they return home, Emma develops a deep interest in travel and sets her sights on an artistic life in San Francisco, while Joan turns to movies and thoughts of romance to escape the pressures of her real life. As the girls become women, each follows a path different from what her family expects. But through periods of great happiness and sorrow, the sisters learn ...
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Night of Many Dreams: A Novel

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Overview


As World War II threatens their comfortable life in Hong Kong, young Joan and Emma Lew escape with their family to spend the war years in Macao. When they return home, Emma develops a deep interest in travel and sets her sights on an artistic life in San Francisco, while Joan turns to movies and thoughts of romance to escape the pressures of her real life. As the girls become women, each follows a path different from what her family expects. But through periods of great happiness and sorrow, the sisters learn that their complicated ties to each other--and to the other members of their close-knit family—are a source of strength as they pursue their separate dreams.


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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
Tsukiyama tells a quietly powerful and understated story of women finding their way in the world, and the strength they derive from family ties.
Library Journal
A work of historical fiction, Tsukiyama's (Samurai's Garden, LJ 2/15/95) latest novel contains several strong female characters. Set during the onset of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in 1940, it first introduces readers to sisters Joan and Emma Lew, ages 14 and nine. The girls, with their servant Foon and their mother's first cousin, Auntie Go, all live "privileged" lives together in Hong Kong until they decide to flee from the imposing Japanese and emigrate to Macao, leaving their father behind to watch the family home. At the war's end, the family returns to Hong Kong with the intention of rebuilding and reclaiming their lives. Culminating in the year 1965, this novel follows its characters through 15 years of growth, maturity, and self-discovery. The ending is a bit rushed, leaving the sisters' characters slightly underdeveloped (and perhaps allowing room for a sequel?). But because Tsukiyama writes with great sensory detail, allowing her reader to touch, taste, and feel the world she creates, the work does remain a satisfying read. Recommended for Asian American and larger fiction collections.Shirley N. Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., Fountain Valley, Cal.
San Francisco Chronicle
Tsukiyama tells a quietly powerful and understated story of women finding their way in the world, and the strength they derive from family ties.
Bill Kent
Delicately fashioned....Evocative.-- The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429909709
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 165,500
  • File size: 420 KB

Meet the Author


Born to a Chinese mother and a Japanese father in San Francisco, Gail Tsukiyama's novels include Dreaming Water, Women of the Silk, The Language of Threads, and The Samurai's Garden. She lives in El Cerrito, California.

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Reading Group Guide

About the Book:

As World War II threatens their comfortable life in Hong Kong, young Joan and Emma Lew escape with their family to spend the war years in Macao. When they return home, Emma develops a deep interest in travel and sets her sights on an artistic life in San Francisco, while Joan turns to movies and thoughts of romance to escape the pressures of her real life. As the girls become women, each follows a path different from what her family expects. But through periods of great happiness and sorrow, the sisters learn that their complicated ties to each other--and to the other members of their close-knit family-are a source of strength as they pursue their separate dreams.

Discussion Questions:

Joan is the "beautiful" sister, and Emma is the "smart" sister. Discuss the significance of the scene in which Emma goes with Joan to collect their father's money throughout the city during wartime. How do these descriptions affect each character's sense of self?

Much of Night of Many Dreams takes place in Hong Kong. The city goes through several stages: pre-war, war, reconstruction and post-war boom. What happens to the landscape and businesses of Hong Kong in these different stages? How does the changing landscape of Hong Kong affect the characters, especially Auntie Go, Joan and Emma, throughout the book?

Macao is almost a magical refuge for Emma. It is also a very important place for both Auntie Go and Joan. What does Macao represent for each character?

Joseph Wong is the first seemingly suitable match for Joan. Not only does Joan fall in love with him, but so do Emma and Kum-Ling-each in her own way. What does the promise of Joseph represent for Joan, for Emma, and for Kum-Ling?

Joan becomes passionate about cooking after she and Joseph break up. Kum-Ling is angry about her desire to cook. Why is this? And how does Joan show that cooking is important to her?

How is marriage defined within the elite Hong Kong circles? What does the game of Mah-jongg fulfill for Kum-Ling and her friends?

Joan's passionate and illicit affair with her director, Edward Chung, fires her acting in their movie A Woman's Life. How does the character she plays help her understand her own experiences?

Joan is very close to Foon, the family servant. How does Foon show her love for Joan? And how does she keep the whole household together?

Joan and Emma's father is generally silent. What do we learn about his relationship with Auntie Go at the scene of his death? What releases him from this world?

Emma goes through many changes when she moves to San Francisco. How does the boat ride affect Emma? In her first taxi ride around town, how does she perceive the landscape of the city itself? What and who most influence her in San Francisco? What changes does her family see when she comes home?

About the Author:

Gail Tsukiyama is the author of the best-selling novels The Language of Threads, Women of the Silk, The Samurai's Garden and Night of Many Dreams. Born to a Chinese mother and a Japanese father, she grew up in San Francisco and now lives in El Cerrito, California. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in English with a concentration in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. With an understanding of her heritage, Tsukiyama explores the sights, sounds and feelings of China and Japan in her novels.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 9, 2010

    Night of Many Dreams

    I had never heard of this book, until I just noticed it on a bookshelf. I have to say I was interested from the start, and this book kept taking different directions, and the author tells the story through the eyes of each character, which gives the book a very special something! Awesome book, and I recommend it to everyone! :D

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2006

    I AM A LOVIN ME SOME GAIL

    Night of many Dreams was the last book I read from Gail and I regretted I waited so long. A wonderful book of two sisters, family and friendships. I love her writing it's so hauntingly beautiful it just makes you heart ache because you want more. Gail please write another book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2005

    Night Of Many Dreams: why you should read it

    When asked to choose one of about seven books in english class this semester, I was doubtful if Night Of Many Dreams would really be as great as my teacher exclaimed. I am happy to say that this book is extremely good. Traveling the life of one small family through the views of three different members, in two generations, was a reading experience I loved. The historical background was enough to make the story realistic, but not so much that the book became boring and a history lesson. Teenage girls will especially enjoy this, but anyone could love this somewhat easy read about young girls growing up in Hong Kong.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2000

    a serene tour de force

    I was recommended to this book by a friend, and before that, I had never even heard of the author. The plot wasn't intricate nor breathtaking, nor is it the psychological workings of the characters violently stirring. This story of Emma and the years of her childhood to adulthood set with the scenes of boisterous Hong Kong, friendly Macao, and abroad in San Francisco could only be depicted with a style of such grace and candor. Whenever I feel like a rest from the rush of this world, I would pick up another book by Tsukiyama and allow the lightness of her beautiful writing life me up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2002

    wonderful!

    at times it seems depressing but it makes you feel good for some reason. i really enjoyed it!

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