Set against the Taiwanese criminal underworld, Francie Lin's debut novel is a noirish tale about family, fraternity, conscience, and the curious gulf between a man's culture and his deepest self. Emerson Chang is a mild mannered bachelor on the cusp of forty, a financial analyst in a neatly pressed suit, a child of Taiwanese immigrants who doesn't speak a word of Chinese, and a virgin. His only real family is his mother, whose subtle manipulations have kept him close to home—all in the name of preserving an obscure idea of family and culture.When his mother suddenly dies, Emerson sets out for Taipei to scatter her ashes, and to convey a surprising inheritance to his younger brother, Little P. Now enmeshed in the hidden community of criminals and misfits, Little P seems to be running some very shady business out of his uncle's karaoke bar, and he conceals a secret—a crime that has not only severed him from his family, but may have annihilated his conscience. Hoping to appease both the living and the dead, Emerson isn’t about to give up the inheritance until he uncovers Little P's past and saves what is left of his family.
Francie Lin, a former editor at The Threepenny Review, received a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan in 2001-2002. She lives in Greenfield, Massachusetts.