Cover Image: Swimming Back to Trout River

Swimming Back to Trout River

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Member Reviews

<i>Swimming Back to Trout River</i> it is a realistic fiction about the compromises, difficulties and struggles of starting over that immigrants face.  The protagonists Junie, Momo, Cassia and Dawn are all the inter-twined in their struggle to cope with the Chinese cultural revolution and its subsequent impact on their lives. <i>Swimming Back to Trout River</i> is at the debut novel of the poet and short story writer Linda Rui Feng.

The book opens with Junie going to live with her grandparents and then receiving a letter from her father saying that he's going to return to China and come for her when she's 12 years old.  Junie is upset because she really has grown to love her life in Trout River and she hopes she can stay there forever.   She writes her father a letter.  In the meantime, her father has gone to the US to find a future so that he can reunite his wife and his daughter.  His wife Cassia does come to North America but decides to live on her own.  With Junie’s letter and his wife missing, Momo’s wish to reunite his family is in jeopardy.  He decides to take action.
Feng does a beautiful job of writing this story.  The story is fundamentally sad.  The author does a beautiful job of helping you understand it has to be this way.  It is a relatively slow moving a novel where one keeps expecting things to happen.  However, it is the description of the characters that controls the overall intensity of the story.  The emotional intensity is beyond compare and the author is incredible at using the characters for making the overall story beautiful.  One example of this is how subtly, and with the simplest act, Momo’s friend Dawn becomes integral to completing the story.  Without spoiling the story, one can only understand this by reading the book.

Culturally it is fascinating and revealing to see how the Chinese revolution has impacted people’s lives and how it has influenced the art and culture of the Chinese people.  It is no wonder that it takes the characters in this story so long to recover from its impacts. 

I recommend this story to people who love a story about human nature and how environmental influences can change their lives.   I give the story 4 on 5.  I want thank NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a digital copy of this novel.  I give this honest review voluntarily.
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The strength of this novel in its storytelling.  I suspect to will appeal to a wide audience, as it is a celebration of facing adversity and the connections that bring people together and tear them apart.  These themes certainly resonated with me and while I did not see the ending coming,  I found I was definitely invested in what happened next.
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This was a new book to me ! I didn’t love it as much as I thought ! It had a great story but it didn’t hold my attention making me want more ! Thanks for the chance but I didn’t love this book
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This is a poignant story of Momo and Cassia. They are two people that meet during the cultural revolution in China.  Momo came from a small village, Trout River, situated far from any cities and his whole village was proud and excited when he was chosen to attend university.  

His life became exciting and he was considered special and important until the revolution made educated and artistic people pariahs.  He meets a woman, Dawn while in university and another woman Cassia after he graduates.   He also has a daughter Junie. 

The book follows his life while weaving in Dawn, Cassia and Junie’s lives. The characters are troubled and this makes them easy to like.  There is such raw emotion in these characters and they moved me with their stories. 

This is a long book with some slow parts but it evolves into a highly emotional story full of loss, grief and love. I thank NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for allowing me to read the ARC of this book.
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This beautifully written novel is set during the time of the Cultural Revolution in China. It follows a family that must deal with the harsh effects that the revolution had on them. It opens with Cassia bringing her young daughter, Junie to live with her grandparents in the countryside. Meanwhile Junie’s father, Momo, has already moved to the US to pursue graduate school and wishes to eventually have the rest of his family join him. However, Cassia develops other plans and Junie comes to resist this idea as she has developed a close relationship with her grandparents. 

This novel deals with themes of grief, hope, resilience, as well as discussions on disability and accessibility. Junie was born without the lower portions of her legs and has to find ingenious ways of navigating her environment with the aid of her grandfather.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s definitely a slow burn, but by the end I felt for all of the characters. 

Thanks to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster, and the author for a digital review copy of this book!
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This was a beautiful story carefully and lyrically weaved together following the stories of Junie, Momo, Cassia, and Dawn. The storytelling was skillful and beautiful, reading like prose, unveiling more meanings as it unraveled.

It was especially poignant to me as a 2nd generation Chinese immigrant to understand the circumstances that my parents and grandparents lived through and grew up in. I had seen the Cultural Revolution depicted before but not like this, in a way so personal and distinctive. Also as a violinist, I found joy and despair in how the instrument and the love of music was depicted. 

I could not put down this book and will definitely want a copy of this on my bookshelf!
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A beautiful book to read. A story of love, family , hardships and enlightenment . Highly recommended. Knowing very little of the revolution in China I found myself unable to put this book down as I read of a family’s journey from China to United States, resilience, tragedy and hope entwined throughout the book.
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