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The Foreigner: A Novel by Francie Lin

The Foreigner: A Novel

by Francie Lin

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10219118,402 (3.1)2



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I liked this book for its interesting blend of humor and thought-provoking story elements introduced by the unique narrator. Takes place in San Francisco and in Taipei and features a loveable ogre of a mom who reigns long after her death... ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
  asianamlitfans | Nov 25, 2011 |
Emerson Chang is a buttoned-up, forty-year-old Taiwanese-American. He's always known that his mother preferred his younger brother, Little P, even though Little P lost touch with the family ten years ago after moving back to Taiwan. But even so, it comes as a shock to Emerson when after his mother's death, he finds out that she left her motel to Little P. Emerson goes to Taipei to track down his brother, and enters a grimy, dystopian twilight world.

The book then rapidly declines into foreigner-in-nightmarishly-incomprehensible-situation cliche. Walls drip with mould. Sinister comments are made. People Emerson has just met issue obscure warnings: "get out now ... I can't tell you why. I have an obligation." Terrified women are glimpsed in dark corners. And I, regretfully (because it would be nice to read a good book set in Taiwan), close the book and hurl it from me. ( )
2 vote wandering_star | Dec 28, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is one of the first EarlyReviewers books I have read and thoroughly enjoyed. It was a wonderful first novel - gripping, solid, sharp & streetwise. I found the character & voice of Emerson compelling - certainly an interesting choice for a main character, and I think Lin pulls off both her portrayal of him and working through him as a narrative voice very well. The prose is beautiful without becoming overwrought or sugary, the plot is engaging, and the few drawbacks included a somewhat hazy sense of time and the characters of Little P and Angel, which I felt at times were somewhat strained, bordering on unrealistic. Overall, I excited to see what Lin will produce in the future. ( )
  milkyfangs | Nov 22, 2009 |
2009 edgar best first novel
  jwcooper3 | Nov 15, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312364040, Paperback)

Winner of the Edgar® Award for Best First Novel by an American Author

Set against the Taiwanese criminal underworld,
The Foreigner is Francie Lin's audacious debut novel. A noirish tale about family, fraternity, conscience, and the curious gulf between a man's culture and his deepest self


Emerson Chang is a mild mannered bachelor on the cusp of forty, a financial analyst in a neatly pressed suit, a child of Taiwanese immigrants who doesn't speak a word of Chinese, and, well, a virgin. His only real family is his mother, whose subtle manipulations have kept him close--all in the name of preserving an obscure idea of family and culture.

But when his mother suddenly dies, Emerson sets out for Taipei to scatter her ashes, and to convey a surprising inheritance to his younger brother, Little P. Now enmeshed in the Taiwanese criminal underworld, Little P seems to be running some very shady business out of his uncle's karaoke bar, and he conceals a secret--a crime that has not only severed him from his family, but may have annihilated his conscience. Hoping to appease both the living and the dead, Emerson isn’t about to give up the inheritance until he uncovers Little P's past, and saves what is left of his family.

The Foreigner is a darkly comic tale of crime and contrition, and a riveting story about what it means to be a foreigner--even in one's own family.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:07 -0400)

Emerson, a man of Taiwanese descent living in the U.S., who speaks no Chinese, travels to Taiwan to scatter his mother's ashes. He must convey a disputed inheritance to his brother who is involved in the Taiwanese criminal underworld and who conceals a secret which has alienated him from his family. Emerson hopes to appease both the living and the dead by discovering his brother's secret and save what is left of his family. This is a darkly comic tale of crime and contrition about what is means to be a foreigner, even in one's own family.… (more)

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