Michael Tang and his sister, Emily, have both struggled to forge a sense of identity in their parents’ adopted homeland. Emily, an immigration lawyer in New York City, baffles their mother, Ling, by refusing to have children. At twenty-six, Michael is unable to commit to a relationship or a career, or to come out to his family. And now their father, after a lifetime of sacrifice, has passed away.
When Michael finds a letter to his father from a long-ago friend, he impulsively travels to China in the hopes of learning more about a man he never really knew. In this rapidly modernizing country he begins to understand his father’s decisions, including one whose repercussions can be felt into the present day. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Ling and Emily question their own choices, trying to forge a path that bends toward new loves and fresh beginnings.
Wendy Lee’s powerfully honest novel captures the complexity of the immigrant experience, exploring one family’s hidden history, unspoken hurts, and search for a place to call home.
Praise for Across a Green Ocean
“Keenly observed and boldly imagined, Across a Green Ocean follows one family’s searching grief from the lawns of suburban New Jersey to an immigration detention center in upstate New York to the nightclubs of present-day China. Wendy Lee is a wise and unsentimental guide on this fateful journey of loss, longing, and hope, one whose words ring with rare compassion and understated grace.” –Deanna Fei, author of A Thread of Sky
“As haunting as it is inspiring, Wendy Lee’s Across a Green Ocean examines the truths we share and those that we withhold, and how vast the space between the two can become in our relationships. Lee creates characters who are each, at times, profoundly flawed and deeply moving. I will not soon forget them.” –Katrina Kittle, author of The Blessings of the Animals
“On the surface, Across a Green Ocean is the story of a Chinese immigrant family who learns about the shameful secret their father has taken to the grave. What Wendy Lee has actually written is an emotionally charged story about fear of censure and how it conceals truths that isolate us even as we crave understanding from the ones we love. She really nails the dynamics between generations and cultures.” –Janie Chang, author of Three Souls
“I was hooked by this engrossing novel, peopled by characters who are hard to forget. You won’t see China—and for that matter, America—the same way again.” –Samuel Park, author of This Burns My Heart