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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.0 out of 5
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  • Interesting dystopian world

    The book has a vivid anti-consumerism message, gets into the struggles of being an immigrant and second generation. Really small focused scope around the experience of main woman through different eras. Comparing her childhood, her early days with a boyfriend, and her life post-society. Interesting narrative and an easy read.

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    1 person found this review helpful

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  • An OK dystopia, not a great one

    I'm normally a big fan of dystopian fiction but this one didn't quite land for me. Too many jumps backward and forward to multiple spots on the timeline of Candice's life drained the narrative of the necessary tension and mystery.

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    0 person found this review helpful

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  • Weird but good

    This is a weird book that’s somehow plotless but still compellingly readable. The story is told through a series of vignettes of the protagonist’s life as she survives a global pandemic much more devastating than COVID-19. The vignettes tell snippets of her life experiences ranging back to her childhood in China up to her life in New York months before the pandemic began. These snippets have no adherence to a set timeline, but rather are slotted in as appropriate to punctuate the present day story. This perspective shifts only once to a vignette of the protagonist’s parents, telling their story of immigrating to the US in the late 1980’s. Their experience serves to deepen our understanding of the protagonist’s own story, her adjustment to America, her need to find order in chaos, her relationships with others, and her strong self preservation instincts. Despite the cataclysmic pandemic, the crumbling of society is told almost gently, with quiet regret and dignity as we see each bit fall away. It’s not an emotional goodbye nor especially painful told from the main character’s view, but it’s also not celebrated. She’s sad to see her world change and slow to give up the routines that give her comfort. But she’s stoic in her acceptance and we get the sense that her life experiences have prepared her well to survive. The writing is beautiful and although the placement of the vignettes seems random at first, there’s no confusion but rather elegance in their cohesion as the story unfolds. I feel like I’m either going to be thinking about this book for a long time, or I’m going to completely forget everything in a few months. It will be interesting to see which is true in the future.

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