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MONKEY HUNTING By: Cristina Garcia October 18, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.
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     The Lycan Librarian has always  adored the work of Chinese writers and South and Central American writers. This book is an odd and very welcome combination of both cultures, as it is about a Chinese man who signs an agreement to work eight years in Havana with the hopes it can improve his family’s sad financial situation in 1857 China. But in reality, he has sold himself into slavery.  He manages to escape, though, and the novel follows generations of his family, each chapter transporting the reader into a different place in time. It’s unusual, but not altogether distracting, to have to take firm note of the date and fully realize where and with which character you are as each chapter begins.
     Garcia’s writing is absolutely beautiful. It elates and depresses, bouncing the reader along a road much like life, itself. I encourage you to read this 2003 selection, the author’s first in six years, but do not read the flyleaf in the front of the book first. It is a much richer experience to discover, rather than know ahead of time, where these family members will wind up. Happily, Garcia has written two more novels since this one, so be prepared for the reviews of those two and her first novel in future blogs.  This is a very strong example of why you should support library book sales. MONKEY HUNTING was plucked from a local library books from a quarter bin, and now a writer who was formerly unknown to the Lycan Librarian will no doubt be among her favorites. It is that library’s loss to now be without this exquisite selection.

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