#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Astonishing . . . one of those hard-to-put-down-until-four-in-the morning books . . . a story with characters who enter a reader’s life, take up residence, and illuminate the myriad decisions and stories that make up human history.”—Los Angeles Times
In her most powerful novel yet, acclaimed author Lisa See returns to the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy. Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the Communist regime. Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.
BONUS: This edition contains a Dreams of Joy discussion guide.
Praise for Dreams of Joy
“[Lisa] See is a gifted historical novelist. . . . The real love story, the one that’s artfully shown, is between mother and daughter, and aunt and daughter, as both of the women who had a part in making Joy return to China come to her rescue. . . . [In Dreams of Joy,] there are no clear heroes or villains, just people who often take wrong turns to their own detriment but for the good of the story, leading to greater strength of character and more durable relationships.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A heartwarming story of heroic love between a mother and daughter . . . No writer has better captured the voice and heart of Chinese culture.”—Bookreporter
“Once again, See’s research feels impeccable, and she has created an authentic, visually arresting world.”—The Washington Post
See revisits Shanghai Girls sisters Pearl and May in this surefire story of life in Communist China. Joy, the daughter Pearl has raised as her own in L.A., learns the truth about her parentage and flees to China to seek out her father and throw herself into the Communist cause, giving See ample opportunity to explore the People's Republic from an unlikely perspective as Joy reconnects with her artist father, Z.G. Li, and the two leave sophisticated Shanghai to go to the countryside, where Z.G., whose ironic view of politics is lost on na ve Joy, has been sent to teach art to the peasants. Joy, full of political vigor, is slow to pick up on the harsh realities of communal life in late 1950s China, but the truth sinks in as Mao's drive to turn China into a major agriculture and manufacturing power backfires. Pearl, meanwhile, leaves L.A. on a perhaps perilous quest to find Joy. As always, See creates an immersive atmosphere her rural China is far from postcard pretty but Joy's education is a stellar example of finding new life in a familiar setup, and See's many readers will be pleased to see the continued development of Pearl and May's relationship. Looks like another hit.
Another great book by Lisa See.
Dreams of Joy
I waited a year for this book release. In preparation for it, I re-read Shanghai Girls for continuity. It is everything and more I hoped it would be. Once again, Lisa See nails it!! She hasn't written a dull book yet and doubt she ever will. She has an amazing ability to take a reader back in time, such that, you don't simply read about Pearl, May and now Joy, you live it in the process. You can't put it down, you're on the edge of your seat particularly during the countryside famine. You either adore or despise her characters. There's no in between. You want to reach into the pages and rescue the starving, the persecuted yet utterly strong women and you want to throttle Tao. This story moved me to tears and made me jump with [JOY]!!!!
A great read. Extremely intense and heart breaking at moments, I loved this book and found myself living with the characters day and night.