THE EIGHTH PROMISE: An American Son's Tribute to His Toisanese Mother by William Poy Lee

Publisher Rodale Press, February 6, 2007

In the best tradition of The Color of Water comes a beautifully written evocative memoir of a relationship between a mother and son – and the Chinese immigrant experience.

In THE EIGHTH PROMISE, author William Poy Lee gives us a rare view of the Chinese-American experience from a mother-son perspective. His moving and complex stories unfold simultaneously in his mother’s war torn childhood of China of the 1930s and ‘40s and then amidst the housing projects of San Francisco Chinatown and the counterculture of North Beach of the 1960s and ‘70s as told in two voices—the author’s own and that of his mother. The mother’s perspective provides a sense of tradition and culture as the author becomes completely American and then realizes that his simple Toisan farmer mother has been his greatest wisdom teacher. It is a stunning tale of violent community turmoil including a murder implicating a close family member, injustice, fortitude, survival, and ultimately redemption. Already, this exquisitely wrought memoir is garnering rave notices.

“The Eighth Promise” is the rare book that tells a story we have not heard before, yet poses questions that are eternal. Who are we having left the land of our ancestors and settled among others similarly displaced? How do we find “home” in the present when the past meant a thousand years in the same place? How do we honor parents – particularly our mothers – whose lives were the bridge that brought us safely to a more promising land? In this unusual and wise, insightful and healing memoir, William Poy Lee explores territory that reflects and intrigues us all.
-- Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple and Now is the Time to Open Your Heart

I'm hooked on it, and keep saving your words for dessert. Yours is one of the very few books that completely conveys a life as lived from the inside, and makes us as readers feel we are living it, too.
-- Gloria Steinem

Writing in two voices, his own as a son, and that of his mother, William unfolds a dramatic, intense, compelling story that takes place simultaneously in the China of his mother’s childhood and youth, and in San Francisco Chinatown where he grew up. At once a family story, a political tale, a crucial piece of American history, a drama of betrayal and ultimate survival, “The Eighth Promise” promises to be a book that will be read by generations of readers. It will, in addition, surely be required reading in multicultural studies classes.
-- Kim Chernin, author of Reinventing Eve and In My Mother’s House

Please visit THE EIGHTH PROMISE web site...
 

Litterae Scriptae Manent