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Longlisted on CBC Canada Reads 2023
Listed on "Most Anticipated Reads for the Rest of Us 2022" in Ms Magazine
"In her debut, Jamie Chai Yun Liew explores identity and belonging through ghosts." - Quill & Quire
"Jamie Chai Yun Liew's debut novel Dandelion is a moving portrait of motherhood and migration" - CBC Books
"...part multi-generational coming-of-age tale, part suspense-filled mystery/adventure, part gastronome’s journal, part sociological treatise and in many ways a ghost story, each aspect blended with the others to create a lyrical yet emotionally taut and complex narrative that carries readers first from a B.C. coal-mining town to Ottawa’s Chinatown, and then, as Lily sets out to learn what happened to her mother, to Malaysia and back." - Ottawa Citizen
"Overall, Dandelion is a thought-provoking story that compassionately addresses the complex nature of immigration and identity—showing the lasting implications of trauma and emotional scars, while still managing a hopeful tone. The novel builds into a satisfying healing journey as Liew does not shy away from depicting harsh realities, making the gradual processes of healing so rewarding and her debut novel that much more important." - The Charlatan
"Dandelion is a novel that will resonate with so many in Canada, who have lived the immigrant experience directly, or indirectly through family and friends. It’s a finely nuanced book that raises the curtain on questions of assimilation and what it means to join the Canadian multicultural family." - The Luxe Magazine
When Lily was eleven years old, her mother, Swee Hua, walked away from the family, never to be seen or heard from again. Now a new mother herself, Lily becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Swee Hua. She recalls the spring of 1987, growing up in a small British Columbia mining town where there were only a handful of Asian families; Lily's previously stateless father wanted to blend seamlessly into Canadian life, while her mother, alienated and isolated, longed to return to Brunei. Years later, still affected by Swee Hua's disappearance, Lily's family is stubbornly silent to her questioning. But eventually, an old family friend provides a clue that sends Lily to Southeast Asia to find out the truth.
Winner of the Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writers Award from the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop, Dandelion is a beautifully written and affecting novel about motherhood, family secrets, migration, isolation, and mental illness. With clarity and care, it delves into the many ways we define home, identity, and above all, belonging.
Perfect Books in Ottawa is offering to send anyone in Canada an autographed book if you purchase online with them. Just indicate in the info box that you would like me to sign it and I will pop into the bookstore to do so!