The Third Son: A Novel

The Third Son: A Novel

by Julie Wu

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616203276
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 05/27/2014
Pages: 338
Sales rank: 1,234,063
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

After graduating from Harvard with a BA in Literature, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Julie Wu received an MD at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. She has received a writing grant from the Vermont Studio Center and won a 2012 Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship. Her website is www.juliewuauthor.com. 

What People are Saying About This

author of "Fobbit" David Abrams

"The Third Son is about love lost, love regained, and--most of all--love's endurance . . . I was entranced by this tale of an immigrant who boldly makes a new future for himself out of the wreckage of a Dickensian childhood. Julie Wu has taken the story of her own parents and turned it into a universal story that will have everyone cheering for Saburo and Yoshiko, two lovers whose faith in each other spans continents and oceans."

author of "The Lincoln Letter" William Martin

"A talented young writer has arrived. And you'll be hearing a lot about her new novel, The Third Son. It's a wonderful debut filled with compelling characters and riveting drama. Do not miss it."

author of "Tell the Wolves I'm Home" Carol Rifka Brunt

"An epic and beautiful debut. Wu had me rooting for her hero right from the very start. The Third Son is a novel of chances and choices, love and loyalty, hope and heartache. A magnificently inspiring story of one man's odyssey to freedom."

Marie Myung-Ok Lee

"This novel has it all: mystery, family, the sweep of history, humor. Once you begin to read the story of Saburo Tong, you won't be able to put it down."

author of "Somebody's Daughter" Marie Myung-Ok Lee

"This novel has it all: mystery, family, the sweep of history, humor. Once you begin to read the story of Saburo Tong, you won't be able to put it down."

Pagan Kennedy

"This novel opens with a blast of machine-gun fire, as a schoolboy delivers a girl from death during World War II. Julie Wu spins a fable of borders--between childhood and adulthood, Taiwan and America. In deceptively simple prose, Wu evokes the heartache of people caught in the middle."

author of "Confessions of a Memory Eater" Pagan Kennedy

"This novel opens with a blast of machine-gun fire, as a schoolboy delivers a girl from death during World War II. Julie Wu spins a fable of borders--between childhood and adulthood, Taiwan and America. In deceptively simple prose, Wu evokes the heartache of people caught in the middle."

Unpublished endorsements

“From the first page of her debut novel, Julie Wu effortlessly slips us into Saburo's world--a life that begins in hardship and cruelty in 1940s Taiwan, but eventually finds happiness and fulfillment in the American Dream.I was entranced by this tale ofan immigrant who boldly makes a new future for himself out of the wreckage of a Dickensian childhood.The Third Sonis aboutlove lost, love regained, and--most of all--love's endurance. Julie Wu has taken the story of her own parents and turned it into a universal story that will have everyone cheering for Saburo and Yoshiko, two lovers whose faith in each other spans continents and oceans.” —David Abrams, author of Fobbit

“A talented young writer has arrived. And you'll be hearing a lot about her new novel,The Third Son.It's a wonderful debut filled with compelling characters and riveting drama. Do not miss it.” —William Martin,New York Timesbestselling author ofThe Lincoln Letter

“Clear your schedule!The Third Sonis your next obsessive read. Julie Wu’s book reads like an instant classic. This electrifying story of human yearning, perseverance, and love, introduces an unlikely hero who struggles to prevail against the limitations of his birth in embattled midcentury Taiwan. His experiences are authentically foreign, as we see post-WWII America through his eyes, and yet compellingly familiar, as heendures trials of mind, body, and spirit, persevering against brutal circumstances to risk everything for love and for his future.Wu's storytelling is masterful.” —Lydia Netzer, author ofShine Shine Shine

“An epic and beautiful debut, Wu had me rooting for her hero right from the very start.The Third Sonis a novel of chances and choices, love and loyalty, hope and heartache. A magnificently inspiring story of one man's odyssey to freedom.” —Carol Rifka Brunt, author ofTell the Wolves I'm Home

“This novel has it all: mystery, family, the sweep of history, humor. Once you begin to read the story of Saburo Tong, you won't be able to put it down.” —Marie Myung-Ok Lee, author ofSomebody's Daughter

“This novel opens with a blast of machine-gun fire, as a schoolboydelivers a girl from death during World War II. Julie Wu spins afable of borders—between childhood and adulthood, Taiwan andAmerica. In deceptively simple prose, Wu evokes the heartache ofpeople caught in the middle.” —Pagan Kennedy, author ofConfessions of a Memory Eater

author of "Shine Shine Shine" Lydia Netzer

"Clear your schedule! The Third Son is your next obsessive read. Julie Wu's book reads like an instant classic."

Lydia Netzer

"Clear your schedule! The Third Son is your next obsessive read. Julie Wu's book reads like an instant classic."

Customer Reviews

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The Third Son: A Novel 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
DubaiReader1 More than 1 year ago
A fascinating view of Taiwan. I had never read any literature from Taiwan and Julie Wu did not disappoint. The narrative begins in 1943, towards the end of the 50 year rule of Taiwan by the Japanese. Suddenly Saburo must change his Japanese name back to the Chinese, Tong Chialin. All the Japanese school books are removed from the classes and replaced by Chinese ones. Saburo is the third son of a Taiwanese family and this, combined with the fact that he was caring for his younger brother when he died, means that his share of everything, food love and education, is reduced to the bare minimum. If it weren't for the care of his cousin, Toru, who is a doctor, he would probably have died of malnutriton. It was during the bombing of their town by American bombers, that 8 year old Saburo meets Yoshiko. She is fleeing the bullets from a jet plane, protected by just her writng board above her head. She describes her family, and for the first time Saburo becomes aware that there are such things as happy families. Although his schooling is intermittent, Saburo is a determined scholar. He sees education as a way out of his situation. But how far can a downtrodden young Taiwanese lad go without the support of his family? As I had hoped, this was not just a story of a young Taiwanese boy, although this part was well done - it was also an insight into the life and and experiences of the people in that time and place. I have definitely learned a lot about the country through reading this and hope that the author will go on to write other books set in Taiwan.
Bookgobbler More than 1 year ago
What a fascinating story  -- and how refreshing to find a first-person narrative that so convincingly carries the resonance of reality!  I felt completely enmeshed in Saburo's world from the first scene:  his story is told much like how a real person who has lead a fascinating life would actually tell his own story has had me recommending this book to random strangers in bookstores. Why?  Well, even very good character-based fiction set against the backdrop of great social and political upheaval will stray from the protagonist's private world in a way that can feel extraneous to the experience of someone who actually lived through those events.   In THE THIRD SON, though, the narrative gives those events the precise heft they would have realistically had in Saburo's life.  A childhood encounter with a snake leaps off the page with nightmare vividness.  A change in political regime is depicted primarily through the suddenly arbitrary actions of the protagonist's schoolteacher.  An act of kindness leaps out as the only thing that's important to remember about a particular year.  It's an especially effective tactic in the early chapters, where our little hero encounters some pretty disturbing abuse.   The overall effect? The reader enjoys the unusual pleasure of feeling as though she's eavesdropping directly upon his memories. And isn't that one of the great tests of first-person fiction, ultimately?  
Piegirl More than 1 year ago
Very good book. Could not put it down. Just wish it was longer because I did not want the story to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Warning: Make sure you have ample reading time to spare when you start this because you won't be able to put it down! Julie Wu seems to be quite knowledgeable about the political climate at the time, as well as the culture and attitudes of its people. Fascinating read.
vanlyle More than 1 year ago
This is a well written book that has the sound of a biography. It doesn't always give the motivation behind the main characters actions, just that they were done, in the way that most people make decisions. It is quite a good coming of age story with maybe a bit more extremes of lows than a normal life. The addition of the history of Taiwan adds a lot of character to the story. I'm definitely glad I read it!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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