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Author Lisa See looks at famine in China in her new novel Dreams of Joy




Lisa See's new novel is Dreams of Joy, a sequel to her bestselling Shanghai Girls.
Lisa See's new novel is Dreams of Joy, a sequel to her bestselling Shanghai Girls.
Random House

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Author Lisa See is famous for her ability to weave Chinese and American history into dramatic personal stories. Her first book, 'On Gold Mountain: The One Hundred Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family,' was a bestseller that told the true story of her great grandfather, Fong See. Fong See left rural China in the 19th century and eventually became known as the Godfather of L.A.'s Chinatown. Now See has penned a sequel to a bestselling novel, called Dreams of Joy. John Rabe spoke to Lisa See in Chinatown.

The story behind Dreams of Joy behind begins in the novel Shanghai Girls, which focuses on the complicated relationship between two sisters, Pearl and May.

Set in the 1920s, Shanghai Girls describes their journey from Shanghai to the United States. The two sisters fall in love with the same man and the book ends on a cliffhanger.

The sequel, Dreams of Joy, begins with Pearl's daughter, Joy, learning that her biological mother is actually her Aunt May.

The book focuses on the strained relationship between Pearl and Joy. Interweaving the narrative is a portrait of "the Great Leap Forward," a tumultuous time in 1950s China.