The Resource The unpassing, Chia-Chia Lin

The unpassing, Chia-Chia Lin

Label
The unpassing
Title
The unpassing
Statement of responsibility
Chia-Chia Lin
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"A searing debut novel that explores community, identity, and the myth of the American dream through an immigrant family in Alaska In Chia-Chia Lin's debut novel, The Unpassing , we meet a Taiwanese immigrant family of six struggling to make ends meet on the outskirts of Anchorage, Alaska. The father, hardworking but beaten down, is employed as a plumber and repairman, while the mother, a loving, strong-willed, and unpredictably emotional matriarch, holds the house together. When ten-year-old Gavin contracts meningitis at school, he falls into a deep, nearly fatal coma. He wakes up a week later to learn that his little sister Ruby was infected, too. She did not survive. Routine takes over for the grieving family: the siblings care for each other as they befriend a neighboring family and explore the woods; distance grows between the parents as they deal with their loss separately. But things spiral when the father, increasingly guilt ridden after Ruby's death, is sued for not properly installing a septic tank, which results in grave harm to a little boy. In the ensuing chaos, what really happened to Ruby finally emerges. With flowing prose that evokes the terrifying beauty of the Alaskan wilderness, Lin explores the fallout after the loss of a child and the way in which a family is forced to grieve in a place that doesn't yet feel like home. Emotionally raw and subtly suspenseful, The Unpassing is a deeply felt family saga that dismisses the American dream for a harsher, but ultimately more profound, reality."--Publisher description
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Lin’s stunning debut novel opens with a recollection: Gavin remembers that once when he was little, his mother feigned death just to see how her children would react. This vignette is like a prophecy. Pages later, an 11-year old Gavin becomes sick and, upon waking, learns that one of his sisters has died from the same illness. Bookended by adult Gavin's search for a sense of belonging, The Unpassing is the story of a Taiwanese family dealing with grief and guilt in 1980s Alaska. With powerful and poetic prose, Lin captures the uncertainty and insight of childhood. Gavin observes his teenage sister try to assimilate, adopting the name Paige instead of Pei-Pei, and his little brother, Natty, desperately search for their lost sister, even mistaking the squirrels that live in their attic for her ghost. Meanwhile, their parents grow increasingly estranged, and as their anger fills the house, Gavin, Pei-Pei, and Natty retreat into the surrounding woods. Enchanting and mysterious, Alaska’s trees, wind, and water seem always on the verge of eating them up, until finally the landscape nearly does. Lin’s majestic writing immerses the reader in the bodily experience of her characters, who writhe, paw, dig, salivate, and draw readers into their world. -- Maggie Taft (Reviewed 3/1/2019) (Booklist, vol 115, number 13, p25)
  • In Lin’s challenging debut, set in rural 1986 Alaska, a Taiwanese-American family struggles to cope with the loss of their youngest member. A week after the Challenger explodes, 10-year-old Gavin wakes up from a meningitis-induced coma, only to realize that his younger sister, Ruby, didn’t survive the illness. In the months that follow, the family slowly disintegrates. When not fighting with her husband, Gavin’s mother talks incessantly about taking their remaining three children and moving back to Taiwan. Gavin’s father, a water well driller, becomes despondent and erratic, staring into space or sawing holes in the ceiling to squelch a flying squirrel infestation. When he’s sued by a white family whose child became severely ill from an improperly installed water well, the ill-equipped and penniless parents run from the situation. They take the children and go on a “vacation” in the Alaskan boonies, forcing Gavin, his five-year-old brother, Natty, and their older sister, Pei-Pei, to sleep in the truck with the rest of their scavenged belongings. Upon their return to the repossessed house, the family squats in the eerie, empty shell as winter sets in—that is, until yet another catastrophe shatters the little they have left. The unrelenting bleakness of the novel might be too much for some readers, but Lin’s talent for vivid, laser-sharp prose—especially when describing Alaska’s stark beauty or the family’s eccentric temperament—is undeniable. (May)
			
			Correction: this review incorrectly stated a character had died. --Staff (Reviewed 04/29/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 17, p)
  • In this debut novel, a Taiwanese-American family 30 miles outside Anchorage struggles to live after the death of their youngest daughter. Ten-year-old Gavin loses consciousness after he comes home from school sick, the day before the Challenger launch is broadcast on TV. When he comes to a few days later, his world has been wrenched apart: Every astronaut on the shuttle is dead—and so is his 4-year-old sister, Ruby, who contracted meningitis from him. Immediately, Gavin is saturated with a guilt he doesn’t know how to express: “The heaviness on me was like dread. But what came after dread? What was on the other side of it, once a thing was done, done, and done, and dread had thickened into something solid?” His other family members, including 5-year-old brother Natty and older sister Pei-Pei, treat each other with a quiet kind of violence, and the rift between his parents expands. His mother wants the family to move back to Taiwan, where she and his father grew up; his dad, an insubstantial man who drills water wells and repairs septic tanks, maintains his innocence when sued by a family whose child was poisoned by a well he worked on. The lawsuit, grasped only hazily by the children, threatens to drain the family’s savings and evict them from their home. The novel is full of harsh beauty, both in its prose and its attentive depictions of an ever shifting Alaskan environment, all frigid air and Sitka spruces and vast, treacherous mudflats. Death is omnipresent, from a tree that nearly falls on Pei-Pei to the flying squirrel skeletons the family clears from their attic, as well as a sense of constant, oppressive emptiness. “It was impossible to erase the feeling of the unoccupied parking spaces around us. So many freshly painted rectangles and no cars. To one side was an empty building, to the other, empty roads.” The book's main mood is one of intense suffocation: Gavin’s family is completely unable to communicate, and events pile up, disjointed and without explanation. The family doesn’t belong, the novel makes achingly, physically explicit: not to the community, where they stick out because of their race and lack of money, and not to the land, which is unwelcoming to any form of life. Unremittingly bleak. (Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2019)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10775925
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1981-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Lin, Chia-Chia
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
Literary form
novels
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Taiwanese Americans
  • Immigrants
  • Children
  • Grief
  • Families
  • Alaska
  • FICTION / Literary
  • FICTION / Asian American
  • FICTION / Small Town & Rural
  • Children
  • Grief
  • Immigrants
  • Taiwanese Americans
  • Alaska
Label
The unpassing, Chia-Chia Lin
Instantiates
Publication
Note
Novel
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
on1036205961
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
278 pages
Isbn
9780374279363
Lccn
2018044059
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1036205961
Label
The unpassing, Chia-Chia Lin
Publication
Note
Novel
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
on1036205961
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
278 pages
Isbn
9780374279363
Lccn
2018044059
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1036205961

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