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Three Souls: A Novel
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William Morrow Paperbacks 2014
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An absorbing novel of romance and revolution, loyalty and family, sacrifice and undying love

We have three souls, or so I'd been told. But only in death could I confirm this....

So begins the haunting and captivating tale, set in 1935 China, of the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin, who watches her own funeral from above and wonders why she is being denied entry to the afterlife. Beside her are three souls—stern and scholarly yang; impulsive, romantic yin; and wise, shining hun—who will guide her toward understanding. She must, they tell her, make amends.

As Leiyin delves back in time with the three souls to review her life, she sees the spoiled and privileged teenager she once was, a girl who is concerned with her own desires while China is fractured by civil war and social upheaval. At a party, she meets Hanchin, a captivating left-wing poet and translator, and instantly falls in love with him.

When Leiyin defies her father to pursue Hanchin, she learns the harsh truth—that she is powerless over her fate. Her punishment for disobedience leads to exile, an unwanted marriage, a pregnancy, and, ultimately, her death. And when she discovers what she must do to be released from limbo into the afterlife, Leiyin realizes that the time for making amends is shorter than she thought.

Suffused with history and literature, Three Souls is an epic tale of revenge and betrayal, forbidden love, and the price we are willing to pay for freedom.

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Street Date:
02/25/2014
Language:
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ISBN:
9780062293213
ASIN:
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APA Citation (style guide)

Janie Chang. (2014). Three Souls: A Novel. William Morrow Paperbacks.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Janie Chang. 2014. Three Souls: A Novel. William Morrow Paperbacks.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Janie Chang, Three Souls: A Novel. William Morrow Paperbacks, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Janie Chang. Three Souls: A Novel. William Morrow Paperbacks, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Born in Taiwan, JANIE CHANG has lived in the Philippines, Iran, Thailand, New Zealand and Canada. She writes historical fiction with a personal connection, drawing from family history and ancestral stories. Chang has a degree in computer science and is a graduate of the Writer's Studio Program at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of Three Souls and Dragon Springs Road.

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shortDescription

An absorbing novel of romance and revolution, loyalty and family, sacrifice and undying love

We have three souls, or so I'd been told. But only in death could I confirm this....

So begins the haunting and captivating tale, set in 1935 China, of the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin, who watches her own funeral from above and wonders why she is being denied entry to the afterlife. Beside her are three souls—stern and scholarly yang; impulsive, romantic yin; and wise, shining hun—who will guide her toward understanding. She must, they tell her, make amends.

As Leiyin delves back in time with the three souls to review her life, she sees the spoiled and privileged teenager she once was, a girl who is concerned with her own desires while China is fractured by civil war and social upheaval. At a party, she meets Hanchin, a captivating left-wing poet and translator, and instantly falls in love with him.

When Leiyin defies her father to pursue...

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title
Three Souls
fullDescription

An absorbing novel of romance and revolution, loyalty and family, sacrifice and undying love

We have three souls, or so I'd been told. But only in death could I confirm this....

So begins the haunting and captivating tale, set in 1935 China, of the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin, who watches her own funeral from above and wonders why she is being denied entry to the afterlife. Beside her are three souls—stern and scholarly yang; impulsive, romantic yin; and wise, shining hun—who will guide her toward understanding. She must, they tell her, make amends.

As Leiyin delves back in time with the three souls to review her life, she sees the spoiled and privileged teenager she once was, a girl who is concerned with her own desires while China is fractured by civil war and social upheaval. At a party, she meets Hanchin, a captivating left-wing poet and translator, and instantly falls in love with him.

When Leiyin defies her father to pursue Hanchin, she learns the harsh truth—that she is powerless over her fate. Her punishment for disobedience leads to exile, an unwanted marriage, a pregnancy, and, ultimately, her death. And when she discovers what she must do to be released from limbo into the afterlife, Leiyin realizes that the time for making amends is shorter than she thought.

Suffused with history and literature, Three Souls is an epic tale of revenge and betrayal, forbidden love, and the price we are willing to pay for freedom.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: NYT Bestselling Author Tara Conklin, author of THE HOUSE GIRL on THREE SOULS
      • content: "Compelling and utterly original. Janie Chang's riveting debut gives us so much: a complex heroine, a window into the vanished world of pre-Communist China, a fascinating plot and language that sings. An intoxicating story of family, ambition and the risks we take for love."
      • premium: False
      • source: Beverly Swerling, author of City of Dreams and Bristol House on THREE SOULS
      • content: "A triumph. There is so much magic here, such generous imagining. The prose sings while the story is told in surging crescendo that makes us race to know what happens."
      • premium: False
      • source: Daniel Kalla, author of The Far Side of the Sky and Rising Sun, Falling Shadow on THREE SOULS
      • content: "A tour de force. Evocative of Lisa See at her best, Three Souls vividly conjures life in pre-Mao China, and runs the emotional gamut from playful to haunting. This original story and its sympathetic heroine will stay with you long after the final pages."
      • premium: False
      • source: Shaena Lambert, author of Radiance and Oh, My Darling on THREE SOULS
      • content: "A glorious, deeply readable novel-the kind you pick up and read voraciously, every chance you get. The kind you get lost in."
      • premium: False
      • source: NYT Bestselling Author Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls and The Day the Falls Stood Still on THREE SOULS
      • content: "In this highly original, capriciously imagined tale, Song Leiyin journeys to the afterlife in the company of three guiding souls. As her life in tumultuous 1920s China is recounted, readers are treated to a deft examination of the woe and splendour of family and the human heart."
      • premium: False
      • source: Nancy Richler, author of The Imposter Bride on THREE SOULS
      • content: "I absolutely couldn't put it down. . . . One of the most satisfying, enjoyable and interesting books I've read in a while."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly on THREE SOULS
      • content: [ Three Souls bristles with freshness and heart.
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist on THREE SOULS
      • content: "Both heartbreaking and hopeful, Janie Chang's first novel is an immersive and enjoyable read."
      • premium: False
      • source: Historical Novel Society on THREE SOULS
      • content: "A remarkable, exquisite work of historical fiction, Three Souls is highly recommended as a wonderful read and an experience of creative, brilliant writing."
      • premium: False
      • source: Providence Journal on THREE SOULS
      • content: [D]elightful. Chang skillfully weaves China's story with the fate of her characters, giving the novel a tone of importance that never becomes dull or pedantic."
      • premium: False
      • source: Asian American Literarature Fans on THREE SOULS
      • content: "Chang's heroine is crafty and that's the biggest strength of this book: we want Leiyin to succeed in her various quests (both in life and in death) because we know so many cards are already stacked against her."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        December 2, 2013
        In Chang’s moving fiction debut, the ghost of a young woman, Song Leiyin, recalls the civil war period of the late 1920s and early 1930s in China. As the narrative begins, Leiyin is observing her own funeral and has no memory of her past life. Her three souls—yin, yang, and hun—help her begin to recover her memories so that she can atone for her wrongdoings and earn a chance for reincarnation. The smart but naïve daughter of a wealthy man, Leiyin’s troubles begin when she falls for Yen Hanchin, a charming, self-serving socialist. He encourages Leiyin to defy her father and pursue her dream of becoming a teacher. When her disobedience is discovered, her father angrily betroths her to a man she’s never met, the barely literate Lee Baizhen. Chang deftly conveys how the initially despairing Leiyin comes to accept her kind-hearted husband, particularly after they have a daughter, Weilan. Hanchin’s reappearance, however, shatters Leiyin’s peaceful existence. As the book nears its suspenseful climax, Leiyin struggles to protect her daughter as well as her own soul. Though Chang slips into cliché when describing Leiyin’s relationship with Hanchin, the majority of her novel bristles with freshness and heart. Agent: Jill Marr, Dijkstra Agency.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 15, 2014
        Revolutionary and domestic politics collide in this tale of a woman's ghost attempting to understand her life decisions and make amends for her transgressions. Set against the Chinese civil war, Chang's debut novel explores the frustrations of intelligent women valued only for beauty and obedience. A young woman's consciousness awakens at her own funeral, surrounded by her three souls: her yin, manifesting as a dancing schoolgirl; her yang, manifesting as an elderly scholar; and her han, manifesting as a silhouette of light. Until she can remember her sins, she cannot ascend to the afterlife and reincarnation; she runs the risk of becoming a hungry ghost, roaming the Earth for eternity. To help her remember, Song Leiyin's souls make her watch her own life unfold again, beginning with the evening of her sister's engagement party, the night she met Yen Hanchin. Born into a traditional and prosperous family, the three Song daughters realize their dreams are circumscribed. Leiyin's eldest sister, Gaoyin, already married, worries that if she doesn't conceive a child soon, her husband will take a concubine. Leiyin's second sister, Sueyin, is betrothed to a well-connected young man far more interested in opium than the business world. Leiyin's eldest brother, Changyin, waits in the wings to become the family patriarch, while her second brother, Tongyin, squanders his educational opportunities at college to drink and mingle with friends. Leiyin herself longs to continue school, to become a teacher, to make a difference in China. When she meets Hanchin--poet, translator and political agitator--Leiyin's aspirations gain a romantic edge. Her plans to escape her father's oppressive household, however, quickly land her in an unexpected marriage. Still, her ambitions and her desire for Hanchin simmer, waiting for a startlingly tragic opportunity. Now, her ghost must find a way to repair the damage wrought. Historically and politically compelling, yet the three-soul plot device is contrived.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        January 1, 2014
        In the midst of civil war on the eve of the Chinese Revolution, Song Leiyin awakens to find herself rising above her own funeral. According to Chinese tradition, she joins her soul, trapped in the space between Earth and the afterlife. She must revisit her life to right whatever wrong is keeping her from going on to reincarnation. Leiyin is alternately joyful and pained as she remembers the moments of her youth. Growing up, she strained against the chains imposed by her traditional Chinese family, ultimately committing a misstep that ended in her father arranging an unwelcome marriage. But even this fate had its joys. Now endowed with the gift of hindsight, Leiyin grieves her errors and urgently strives to set things right for her family, her husband, and her young daughter before it's too late. Leiyin is a sympathetic character, and her journey of self-realization is mirrored in China's time of political upheaval as traditional culture gives way to the future. Both heartbreaking and hopeful, Janie Chang's first novel is an immersive and enjoyable read.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

subtitle
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popularity
133
publisher
William Morrow Paperbacks
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