October 11, 2021

Ghost Forest

Ghost Forest

by Pik-Shuen Fung

Published July 13, 2021
by One World, an imprint of Random House

Rating: 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Genre: General Fiction (Adult) | Literary Fiction

From the Publisher:

A graceful and indelible debut about love, grief, and family welcomes you into its pages and invites you to linger, staying with you long after you’ve closed its covers.

How do you grieve, if your family doesn’t talk about feelings?

This is the question the unnamed protagonist of Ghost Forest considers after her father dies.  One of the many Hong Kong astronaut fathers, he stayed in Hong Kong to work, while the rest of the family immigrated to Vancouver before the 1997 Handover, when the British returned sovereignty over Hong Kong to China.

As she revisits memories of her father throughout the years, she struggles with unresolved questions and misunderstandings.  Turning to her mother and grandmother for answers, she discovers her own life refracted brightly in theirs.

Buoyant, heartbreaking, and unexpectedly funny, Ghost Forest is a slim novel that envelops the reader in joy and sorrow.  Fung writes with a poetic and haunting voice, layering detail and abstraction, weaving memory and oral history to paint a moving portrait of a Chinese-Canadian astronaut family.

My Thoughts:

A book of lovely writing and lyrical prose.  Heart-breaking and sad, this tale is more a series of vignettes and memories – almost like a journal or diary – than a novel.  It felt very real and genuine – not like fiction at all.  It’s a huge compliment to this debut author’s skill that she made me forget that I was not reading an actual, factual account, but something created out of whole cloth from the Pik-Shuen Fung’s imagination.

Recommended for lovers of literary fiction and book club fans.

Unsure if Ghost Forest is for you?  Listen to a sample at https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/665652/ghost-forest-by-pik-shuen-fung/.  And don’t miss the Discussion Questions available at http://www.randomhousebooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/FUNG_GhostForest_HC_DG_FINAL.pdf.

A big thank you to Pik-Shuen Fung, Random House’s One World imprint, and NetGalley for providing a complimentary Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for this honest review.

To grab a copy of Ghost Forest for yourself, head on over to www.BookShop.org – the online bookstore that gives 75% of each book’s profit margin back to independent bookshops.  Find yours at https://bookshop.org/lists/best-fiction-of-2021.

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