When Theo returns to Sri Lanka from London to write his novel he is distracted by Nulani who draws him out of his beach side home. After Mrs Mendis reminds him of earlier racial riots when her husband was drenched in petrol and set alight, Theo cannot shut out the rising racial tension outside his door, nor his love for Nulani.
Can their love survive when Theo’s Sinhalese ethnic group is rioting against Nulani’s Tamil minority?
When the Fong’s estate near Shanghai is sold and the Yangs arrive, Jialing’s mother disappears and Jialing becomes a bond servant to the new family. Through her friendship with the spirit fox and Anjuin, the Yangs oldest daughter, she survives. A group of teachers rent a section of the estate and Jialing is given an opportunity to go to school. But even with her education and perfect English no one will employ her because she is zazhong— half Chinese, half Eurasian. How will she survive once the Yangs move to Shanghai leaving her behind?
In the early 1900s when Sunja falls pregnant, she refuses to be mistress to a wealthy man she discovers is already married. Instead she accepts an offer of marriage from a minister and they soon leave Korea for Japan.
This is a four generational tale exploring Japan’s attitude towards Koreans as well as the family’s struggles to survive. A compelling story.