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River East, River West
River East, River West: A Novel | Aube Rey Lescure
18 posts | 10 read | 13 to read
Set against the backdrop of developing modern China, this mesmerizing literary debut is part coming-of-age tale, part family and social drama, as it follows two generations searching for belonging and opportunity in a rapidly changing worldperfect for readers of Behold the Dreamers, White Ivy, and The Leavers. Shanghai, 2007: Fourteen-year-old Alva has always longed for more. Raised by her American expat mother, shes never known her Chinese father, and is certain a better life awaits them in America. But when her mother announces her engagement to their wealthy Chinese landlord, Lu Fang, Alvas hopes are dashed, and so she plots for the next best thing: the American School in Shanghai. Upon admission, though, Alva is surprised to discover an institution run by an exclusive community of expats and the ever-wilder thrills of a city where foreigners can ostensibly act as they please. 1985: In the seaside city of Qingdao, Lu Fang is a young, married man and a lowly clerk in a shipping yard. Though he once dreamed of a bright future, he is one of many casualties in his countrys harsh political reforms. So when China opens its doors to the first wave of foreigners in decades, Lu Fangs world is split wide open after he meets an American woman who makes him confront difficult questions about his current status in life, and how much will ever be enough. In a stunning reversal of the east-to-west immigrant narrative and set against Chinas political history and economic rise, River East, River West is an intimate family drama and a sharp social novel. Alternating between Alva and Lu Fangs points of view, this is a profoundly moving exploration of race and class, cultural identity and belonging, and the often-false promise of the American Dream.
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Jas16
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Pickpick

Told in two alternating time lines one focusing on bi-racial teenager Alva who is growing up in Shanghai but desperately wants to live in America and compromises by attending an Expat school. The other focuses on Li Fang a married man expecting his first child but has always wished for more. There are no likeable characters here but we are made to understand them and care for them nonetheless. I appreciated this addition to the Women‘s Prize list.

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Gissy
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#Women‘s Prize Long & Short List

The books I have read from the long list for the Women‘s Prize have been so hard to read, so dark, sad.

This one is a family drama/coming of age story, narrated in two time lines. Every main character has a dark side in terms that they are not who they project to others, they have secrets, they are full of lies, hurting others. There are some triggers here: suicide, sexual abuse. Some parts are so sad😢⬇️

Gissy (Cont.) But with hope at the end? Each character was looking that cultural identity. I really liked this one. Beautiful! 4/4.5⭐️ 2mo
Gissy April 2024

#ReadAway2024 @DieARrader @Andrew65 @Ghani4Roses
8th book read from Women‘s Prize fiction nominated list
#BookSpinBingo #19 (Because I wanted to read it) @TheAromaOfBooks
#ISpyBingo (sun)
#52bookclub24 prompt #42 (finding identity)
2mo
BarbaraBB I enjoyed this one a lot too. 2mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2mo
Suet624 Already stacked, but I'm happy to see you liked it. 2mo
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Gissy
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Reading this one now. I will continue reading the books nominated in the long list regardless if they don‘t appear in the short list tomorrow. I have the books, they are in my tbr except The Blue Beautiful World because I would need to read the first 2 books first and Soldier Sailor which I don‘t own yet 🤷🏽‍♀️☺️

BarbaraBB This one is great and Sailor Soldier too! 2mo
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BarbaraBB
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It took some time getting into this book but then it gave me all the feels. I rooted for Lu Fang throughout the book, the Chinese man who falls in love with an American woman living in China. Her daughter Alva, who‘s coming to age is another storyline, I found extremely annoying: how many wrong choices can a 15-year old make? Set in China from the 80s until 2009 makes for an interesting setting! ⬇️⬇️

BarbaraBB I knew so little about China after Mao.
An emotional read and yes, it will make my personal #WomenPrize shortlist.
2mo
Amor4Libros I really liked this one, too! 2mo
Hooked_on_books I loved it, too! I would love to see it on the shortlist. 2mo
See All 8 Comments
squirrelbrain This one is on my shortlist too! ❤️ 2mo
Deblovestoread I rooted for Lu Fang, too. Alva was a mess but her parent sure didn‘t help. 2mo
BarbaraBB @Deblovestoread You‘re right. Het mother was a mess too 😀 2mo
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ChaoticMissAdventures
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4⭐ #WomensPrizeFictionLongList

Another good but not great read for this years prize. I think at this point it is just my attitude that is the problem. This book has all the right things - lots about language, social, financial diversity and analysis. A girl half American, half Chinese trying to figure out the world as she is raised in China by her American single mom. Something just fell flat for me, I struggled to care about picking the book up

ChaoticMissAdventures 4⭐ though because all the right elements are here, and I think it just didn't connect with me at this moment in time. 2mo
BarbaraBB Great review. I am reading it now and feeling the same 2mo
ChaoticMissAdventures @BarbaraBB it is just missing something? Or maybe my hopes are too high? I cannot decide. 2mo
BarbaraBB I feel a bit like I‘ve read this story already, just with different characters in a different setting. I felt the same about Nightbloom. Maybe it‘s us, spoilt readers, but then again, this is the Women Prize! (edited) 2mo
22 likes4 comments
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ChaoticMissAdventures
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I read both the physical and audio of this because of the use of language through.

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ChaoticMissAdventures
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I really like when books talk about language, how it is formed, the origin and meanings of words. All things Lexicology, Etymology and Linguistics especially when it crosses and compares languages.

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BarbaraBB
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#WeeklyForecast 17/24

I am reading The Wild Laughter, not sure what to think yet. Next will be the tagged book and last but not least, the Iris Murdoch is my #Roll100 book.

TrishB Oh I have the tagged one! Look forward to your review. 2mo
Ruthiella Ooh! A new (to you and me) Iris Murdoch title! 2mo
ChaoticMissAdventures I am about half into River East will be curious what you think. 2mo
squirrelbrain I liked River East - it may make my shortlist… 🤔 2mo
BarbaraBB @Ruthiella I always love her books! 2mo
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Deblovestoread
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My favorite of the week is the book I just finished. Ultimately a story about trying to find where you belong and the struggles you experience when you try to make the wrong thing fit. As I was reading I realized this may be the first contemporary fiction book I‘ve read set in China. 4 🌟

#WomensPrize #52Bookclub24 #IncludesaWedding

BarbaraBB Looking forward to this one. I don think I‘ve read much about current China either. Interesting! 2mo
Hooked_on_books Such a good book! I‘m glad this one is on the women‘s prize list so that I read it. 2mo
Librarybelle Lovely! 2mo
Read4life Awesome pick! 💙🦋💙 2mo
TheAromaofBooks Yay!! 2mo
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Hooked_on_books
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This book pulled me in immediately, following mixed race Alva as she tries to navigate her native China without feeling she fits anywhere (there‘s not even a word in her language for half-Chinese), and her stepfather Lu Fang. So much is explored here: class, status, culture, family, belonging, and more. Great entry to the women‘s prize fiction list and my vote for best cover (this US one).

Deblovestoread Great review! I‘m at the halfway point and am enjoying it. 2mo
BarbaraBB Great to know! I had heard little about it until now 2mo
squirrelbrain I think this will be on my shortlist (or borderline depending on what I think about those I have left!) 2mo
Hooked_on_books @squirrelbrain I‘ve only read 7 so far, but this is in my top 2 of those, behind 8 Lives. 2mo
TrishB Have this on the pile- good to know 👍🏻 2mo
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squirrelbrain
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Another #womensprize long listed book that I really liked.

It follows the lives of two people in Shanghai. Alva, a teenager in 2007 is disgruntled when her white American mother marries a Chinese man. Lu Fang is her new stepfather and we see how his life was affected by Mao‘s Cultural Revolution.

None of the characters are likeable and it‘s really rather a sad book, (I‘m not selling it, am I?!) but I do recommend it.

BarbaraBB Great review! Guess I‘ll read it too 😀 3mo
Reggie You had me at none of the characters are likable. Lolol stacked. 3mo
TheKidUpstairs I was reading this one, and my e-loan just returned on me. I enjoyed it when I was reading it, but kept reaching for other books instead, it wasn't quite drawing me in. I think I'll try again if it gets shortlisted. I feel like it may have just been the wrong timing for me! 3mo
squirrelbrain @TheKidUpstairs - yeah, it‘s not completely gripping, rather a ‘quiet‘ book. 3mo
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charl08
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Dual narrative centred on a Chinese man and the daughter of an American single mum living (struggling) in Shanghai. A coming of age story, but for parents too. The jumps over decades so you get a sense of the rapid change families lived through.

Do I want it to be shortlisted? I didn't "love" it, but think it would be a worthy "shortlistee" (I just made that word up, I think!).

#WomensPrize24 #Longlist

charl08 Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai Image via Wikipedka 3mo
squirrelbrain Good to know! I‘ll get to this one soon, I think. 3mo
charl08 @squirrelbrain impressive first novel, definitely. 3mo
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charl08
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"Do you see me becoming a wife and a mother?" she said.
"The pale heavens' arrangements are obeyed as they come," he replied.
She squinted at him, then sighed. "Sometimes I think Chinese proverbs were only invented to obfuscate."

charl08 When your cardigan matches your book... 3mo
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charl08
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"The Chinese invented the alienation effect. You know you're putting on a show, but you still get lost in it. Sometimes too lost. Like the actor who plays the Yu Concubine in this movie and ended up dead."
"In the movie," Alva said.
The man stared at her blankly. "No, girl. In real life. You haven't heard what happened to Leslie Cheung?"

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charl08

A man called Lu Fang stole Alva's mother in Grand Ballroom B of Shanghaï's Imperial Hotel.

#OpeningLine
#WomensPrize

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JHSiess
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📬𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐌𝐚𝐢𝐥📖

Thanks to Bibliolifestyle & William Morrow Books for a copy of 𝐑𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐄𝐚𝐬𝐭, 𝐑𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝗪𝐞𝐬𝐭, 𝐀𝐮𝐛𝐞 𝐑𝐞𝐲 𝐋𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐞's debut novel. Published 𝘑𝘢𝘯. 𝟿, 𝟸𝟶𝟸𝟺, it's just the type of book I love to immerse myself in: a combination coming-of-age story, & family & social drama. Against the backdrop of developing modern China, two generations search for belonging & opportunity in a rapidly changing world.

charl08 I liked it - do you think it should make the women's prize shortlist? 3mo
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vlwelser
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This is quite good. A young half American is growing up in Shanghai with her white mother and struggles to find her place. A Chinese man struggles to find something more to his life.

#BookSpinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

Pub date is 1/9/2024
#ARC #Goodreads #WilliamMorrow

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 6mo
39 likes1 comment
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Amor4Libros
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My daughter and I decided to have a low-key Christmas at home and I‘ve welcomed the change of pace this year.

About 25% into this and it‘s good so far!