“As a girl growing up in Hong Kong, Lily Lin was captivated by photographs of the desert – its long, lonely vistas and shifting sand dunes. Now living in New York, Lily is struggling to finish her graduate degree when she receives an astonishing offer. An aunt she never knew existed will pay Lily a huge sum to travel across China’s desolate Taklamakan Desert – and carry out a series of tasks along the way. Intrigued, Lily accepts. Her assignments range from the dangerous to the bizarre. Lily must seduce a monk. She must scrape a piece of clay from the famous Terracotta Warriors, and climb the Mountains of Heaven to gather a rare herb. At Xian, her first stop, Lily meets Alex, a young American with whom she forms a powerful connection. And soon, she faces revelations that will redefine her past, her destiny, and the shocking truth behind her aunt’s motivations…Powerful and eloquent, “Song of the Silk Road” is a captivating story of self-discovery, resonant with the mysteries of its haunting, exotic landscape.”
I have to say based on the cover and description of this novel….I felt a little disconnection with the writing style of the work. I expected a much more traditional prose. This novel however is an eclectic mix of traditional chinese influences and modern day writing. In some ways it was fresh to see this interaction but at other times it was often erratic. The reason for this stark contrast is simple: our setting is as old as time while our protagonist is a contemporary woman of the modern world. Lily is not only a woman of this time but quite liberally so…her character is very free with sexuality, obscenities and some morally questionable situations. Lily is also a very powerful and almost spiritually alluring character and at times I had trouble connecting the two sides she seemed to show in her day to day activities and beliefs.
However the book did keep me intrigued and parts were very emotionally provocative and moving. I knew very little about the Silk Road and it’s magical allure. Yip’s poetic descriptions kept me reading and enchanted. There is also a significant love story to be found within its pages along with a roller coaster mystery that depending on the reader may or may not end rather flat. However the love story between Lily and the soulmate she finds in her journey really creates a whole new level of hope and love in the novel which will attract many readers.
Readers who enjoy this book will probably be those with some interest in Chinese culture and travel. They should also enjoy honest writing that does not hold back from fear of offense. This book is open in every way imaginable. The theme of sexuality is explored at great length and may be a turn off for the more conservative reader. However some readers will absolutely fall in love with Lily and her brash “take over the world” journey and its results.
You can learn more about Author Mingmei Yip and her books here.
(As a side note this title was published on March 29, 2011 but unfortunately this “Book Birthday” post was delayed due to an extremely not fun emergency dental surgery. My apologies to all. )
One lucky reader of Stiletto Storytime will win their very own copy of Song of the Silk Road. Giveaway ends midnight EST April 13, 2011. US and Canada address only please. Winner will be chosen by random.org and notified by e-mail address. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!
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