Dear Chrysanthemums: A Novel in Stories by Sze-Lorrain, Fiona
Sze-Lorrain, Fiona
Books

Dear Chrysanthemums: A Novel in Stories -- Fiona Sze-Lorrain - Paperback


A startling and vivid debut novel in stories from acclaimed poet and translator Fiona Sze-Lorrain, featuring deeply compelling Asian women who reckon with the past, violence, and exile--set in Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Paris, and New York.

Composed of several interconnected stories, each taking place in a year ending with the number six, ironically a number that in Chinese divination signifies "a smooth life," Dear Chrysanthemums is a novel about the scourge of inhumanity, survival, and past trauma that never leaves. The women in these stories are cooks, musicians, dancers, protestors, mothers and daughters, friends and enemies, all inexplicably connected in one way or another.

"Cooking for Madame Chiang," 1946: Two cooks work for Madame Chiang Kai-shek and prepare a foreign dish craved by their mistress, which becomes a political weapon and leads to their tragic end.

"Death at the Wukang Mansion," 1966: Punished for her extramarital affair, a dancer is transferred to Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution and assigned to an ominous apartment in a building whose other residents often depart in coffins.

"The White Piano," 1966: A bidding pianist from New York City settles down in Paris and is assaulted when a mysterious piano arrives from Singapore.

"The Invisible Window," 2016: After their exile following the Tiananmen Square massacre, three women gather in a French cathedral to renew their friendship and reunite in their grief and faith.

With devastating precision, a masterly ear for language, and a profound understanding of both human cruelty and compassion, Fiona Sze-Lorrain weaves Dear Chrysanthemums, an evocative and disturbing portrait of diasporic life, the shared story of uprooting, resilience, artistic expression, and enduring love.

Author: Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Publisher: Scribner Book Company
Published: 05/02/2023
Pages: 176
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 0.25lbs
Size: 8.30h x 5.30w x 0.60d
ISBN: 9781668012987

Review Citation(s):
Library Journal Prepub Alert 12/01/2022 pg. 7
Kirkus Reviews 03/15/2023
Publishers Weekly 03/20/2023
Booklist 04/01/2023 pg. 17

About the Author
Fiona Sze-Lorrain is a fiction writer, poet, musician, translator, and editor. She writes and translates in English, French, and Chinese. She is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Rain in Plural (Princeton, 2020) and The Ruined Elegance (Princeton, 2016), and fifteen books of translation. A finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Best Translated Book Award among other honors, she was a 2019-20 Abigail R. Cohen Fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination and the inaugural writer-in-residence at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. She lives in Paris and has performed worldwide as a zheng harpist.

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