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Mini Review: The Boat to Redemption, Su Tong

Dongliang’s father used to be the son of a martyr, until the fish-shaped birthmark on his bottom was called into question.  An investigation into the martyr’s descendants was instituted, but the family’s position was already too compromised and Secretary Ku lost his party membership.  Now they live on a boat and Dongliang worries that his father is going to turn into a fish – but he can’t resist chasing after young Huixian, a beautiful little girl who is immediately accepted by the river people.  To satisfy his obsession, Dongliang will have to challenge everything he knows, and make a difficult choice.

This book didn’t really work so well for me.  It had an element of magical realism, which only sometimes works, and I found the whole thing kind of absurd.  I think that was the point, but I still wasn’t a huge fan.  I also didn’t really like Dongliang, which was a huge problem since the novel is mainly from his point of view.  I could understand his frustration with his father, but I really disliked the way he chased after Huixian.  I felt sorry for her more than sympathy for him, even though she was a bit strange.  Actually I didn’t really relate to any of the characters, and I didn’t care what happened to them.  I just felt disconnected from the story the whole time.

I know this review is quite subjective, and many of my issues with it might not bother someone else.  Overall, though, I don’t think I could recommend The Boat to Redemption.

I am an Amazon Associate. I borrowed this book from my local library.

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