The Eye of Jade: A Mei Wang Mystery
Diane Wei Liang
Simon & Schuster, 2008 (2008)
Reviewed by Barbara Lingens
oung adults in China today have much change to contend with. Besides dealing with a new economic and moral climate, they also must try to understand what their parents and grandparents went through in the time of the Cultural Revolution.
ei Wang is just such a person. She has quit her job at the Ministry for Public Security in Beijing. It's quite a step for a young woman, but even more startling - because it is a banned occupation - she has become an independent private investigator.
er uncle has asked her to find a jade of great value, and as she takes us on a journey through ancient and modern Beijing to visit rich and poor sections, we learn as much about what it is like to live there today as we do about her family. Mei's parents were forced into a labor camp many years before, but she has never understood why only her father remained imprisoned, while she and mother, along with a sister, got out. As the story progresses, we realize that the remnants of a time when the government preyed on its citizens' lives still remain and not only as memories.
uthor Liang writes out of experience, having spent part of her childhood with her parents in a labor camp, and later taking part in the student protests in Tiananmen Square. She writes sparingly but tellingly, and it will be interesting to follow her progress as well as Mei's as the next mysteries are released.
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