The Many Daughters of Afong Moy: A Novel (Hardcover)
Let me preface this review by saying that this may be my favorite, most influential book for 2022! If you read the 13 pages of Acknowledgments, you’ll understand how much research author Jamie Ford explored, in order to write this life-changing piece of fiction, so on the edge, but surrounded by truth!
Have you ever had the familiar feeling of Deja vu, or been moved to tears for no apparent reason? Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance, a current topic of exploration, might just be the answer, and this is the subtle underlying topic throughout the book. Ford brilliantly weaves the stories of six generations of women, all descendants of Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to step foot in America. The story moves back and forth in time, from 1834-2086, and the reader must pay close attention to each character, to discover how their lives have been shaped by some kind of genetic predisposition. As one of the later descendants proclaimed, “My whole life is an echo of so many generations.” This story is churning in my psyche! I’m determined to learn as much as I possibly can about the women in my family who preceded me! Time’s ticking!
Check out the audiobook!— From Jumpin' July Staff Picks
August 2022 Indie Next List
“Jamie Ford explores the relationship of mind, spirit, and personal history in this gorgeous, multigenerational novel. The descendants of Afong Moy dig into their inherited pasts with astonishing results. A hopeful, beautiful read!”
— Beth Mynhier, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, IL
A Read With Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!
“One of the most beautiful books of motherhood and what we pass on to those that come after us.” —Jenna Bush Hager
The New York Times bestselling author of the “mesmerizing and evocative” (Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants) Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet returns with a powerful exploration of the love that binds one family across the generations.
Dorothy Moy breaks her own heart for a living.
As Washington’s former poet laureate, that’s how she describes channeling her dissociative episodes and mental health struggles into her art. But when her five-year-old daughter exhibits similar behavior and begins remembering things from the lives of their ancestors, Dorothy believes the past has truly come to haunt her. Fearing that her child is predestined to endure the same debilitating depression that has marked her own life, Dorothy seeks radical help.
Through an experimental treatment designed to mitigate inherited trauma, Dorothy intimately connects with past generations of women in her family: Faye Moy, a nurse in China serving with the Flying Tigers; Zoe Moy, a student in England at a famous school with no rules; Lai King Moy, a girl quarantined in San Francisco during a plague epidemic; Greta Moy, a tech executive with a unique dating app; and Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to set foot in America.
As painful recollections affect her present life, Dorothy discovers that trauma isn’t the only thing she’s inherited. A stranger is searching for her in each time period. A stranger who’s loved her through all of her genetic memories. Dorothy endeavors to break the cycle of pain and abandonment, to finally find peace for her daughter, and gain the love that has long been waiting, knowing she may pay the ultimate price.
About the Author
Jamie Ford is the great-grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from Hoiping, China to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the western name Ford, thus confusing countless generations. His debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list and went on to win the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. His work has been translated into thirty-five languages. Having grown up in Seattle, he now lives in Montana with his wife and a one-eyed pug.
"The Many Daughters of Afong Moy is simply transcendent. The first Chinese woman to set her lotus-bound feet in America is destined to set off a ripple through time and space, as her descendants struggle with her legacy of loss and loneliness. Themes of karma, courage, love, and motherhood weave timelessly through eight generations of women seeking to find balance in an increasingly tempest-racked world. Jamie Ford has outdone himself!" —KATE QUINN, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code
“Jamie Ford’s army of readers will be thrilled by this amazing new novel, The Many Daughters of Afong Moy, which promises to take them to places they have not been to before. At our house, we enjoyed many nights reading later and later into the evening, and discussing its wonders and surprises.” —LUIS ALBERTO URREA, bestselling author of The House of Broken Angels
"Fans of The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet rejoice: Jamie Ford has done it again. The Many Daughters of Afong Moy is a searing and vibrant epic of generational love, trauma, and healing. In his trademark poignant prose, Ford breathes Afong Moy and her descendants to life with dimension and power. This is a book that will stay with readers and reshape how they engage with their own lives and legacies. To read it is to be transformed--and to transcend." —QIAN JULIE WANG, New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Country
"[A] poignant meditation on how we are shaped by those who come before us, as well as an emotional journey through the past and future. Jamie Ford's lyrical writing fills the reader with wonder, possibility, and most of all hope. This story will live inside me forever." —JANET SKESLIEN CHARLES, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Library
"A haunting love story not just for our time but all times, Jamie Ford's The Many Daughters of Afong Moyexplores the challenges of the Asian experience across eras, and into our own, and reminds us that no human suffers alone. Impossible to put down once I picked it up, its characters will live with me for a very long time." —HUGH HOWEY, New York Times bestselling author of Wool
"Lyrical and profound, poignant and original, this sweeping saga explores the love that binds one family across generations. For Jamie Ford fans both old and new, The Many Daughters of Afong Moy is an unmitigated pleasure."—CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and The Exiles
"[T]he Moy women will leave readers wanting to know more...Ford's tragically beautiful book will make readers cry and smile." —Library Journal (starred review)
"Exploring the bonds that transcend physical space, The Many Daughters of Afong Moy is an enthralling, centuries-spanning tale, a masterful saga that’s perfect for fans of The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende and The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain." —Bookpage (starred review)
"[I]mmersive and enlightening." —Booklist
"Ford raises fascinating questions..." —Kirkus