In the 1950s, American Foreign Service Officers were fired by the State Department for alleged ties to Communism. In this novel, a stroke victim, a mysterious woman from the past, and the fateful events from a half-century before drive this story of love, secrets, and Americans in Chi... na during the Second World War. The story begins in 1989 when an elderly man who is unable to talk arrives at St. Matthews Care Facility in Albany, California. Lisa, a rebellious Chinese-American hospital intern, learns that his name is Quentin, and he was born in Beijing to American missionary parents. He has no next of kin, but within a week of Quentin's arrival, a grandmotherly Chinese woman visits and claims to have known Quentin during the War. The woman’s familiarity with his situation leads Lisa to conclude the two had been lovers, and the woman's subsequent disappearance after Quentin’s untimely death sends Lisa on a lifelong search: why did this woman need to see him one last time?
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