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
THE EIGHTH PROMISE web site...