Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Author Deanna Fei's Book Tour Review

Deanna Fei Third Place Books 5-26-10

Enough with the Amy Tan comparisons. Wait, all right Author Deanna Fei’s new novel “A Thread of Sky” sounds like Joy Luck Club meets As I Lay Dying, but give the woman a break. She lived in China for three years, taking seven years to bring her first novel to print. Besides, Tan wrote JLC twenty years ago so maybe there might be some room on the shelves for a new perspective on the Asian female experience in America.

Her book is an attempt to bond three generations of “strong women” each with different backgrounds and points of view by sending them on a trip to China. It’s an ambitious attempt at as a first time novelist presents the story from the point of view of all six women

Close your eyes while she reads selections from her novel and you might swear it is story time at the local library. Fei has lovely toned down speaking pattern that sounds more like Northern California than Flushing N.Y. where she was rasied,

She is charming, combining private school East Coast sorority politeness with the enthusiasm of a writer who had worked long and hard to arrive at this point in her life. She was engaged with the craft of writing, spoke clear with no hesitations indicating knowledge of her subject and was the kind of author you hope will hit it big.

I have a soft spot for first time novelist on their maiden voyage to the book stores for that first tour experience.

Fei’s best moments were during the Q&A sessions and did well as she fielded some pointed questions. She denied this work was autobiographical but when pressed by an audience member, Fei admitted there was a fear from her family for backlash about certain characterisics shared between them and family members.

The problem with Ms. Fei's reading was that by the end so much plot and character had been revealed that there was little left for the prospective book buyer to anticipate reading. Granted other authors have read sections from the middle and last third of the book (Nick Hornby come to mind) but it is risky when trying to inspire people to lay down $25 for a promising new author.

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