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In the Lap of the Gods (LeapLit) Paperback – November 2, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
Our story opens with a peasant couple hastily fleeing their home after one last brief glimpse of their vegetable garden. Taking only the essentials, they leave behind the swaddled bundle of their baby daughter, and one other item of some value.
Along comes Liu, a self-employed scavenger who works the flood plains, and although he's no pharaoh's daughter peeking around the bulrushes, he rescues the baby from the rising water. Hunting quickly in the house, he finds a lacquered box and barely manages to escape the fast rising river with his findings before the Yangtze takes over.
Liu has had the misfortune of losing his wife and unborn child, and at first he plans to sell the child on the black market with a little help from his broker of questionable integrity, a man named Fang Shuping. From the author's summary we learn that he had a change of heart, and raises the girl as his own.
Very well written and skillfully told, this is another story with an unusual setting that has the potential to advance to the next round.
Rated: 4.5 stars
Note: This review is based on the excerpt submitted for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and awarded a place in the semi-finals.
Amanda Richards, February 18, 2008
Author Li Miao Lovett truly individualizes and deeply probes the inevitable tragedy of individuals ground in the maw of technological development rationalized as for the greater good. After finishing the novel, the characters' personalities and fates still linger in my memory, as if I had gone through their experiences with them.
More like Dickens than Steinbeck is the deeply touching and growing bond between the main character Liu and Rose, the abandoned baby he impulsively saves from the rising flood waters. This relationship is not a sentimental device because the author shows it in multiple dimensions. To care for a baby isn't easy for a single man who can only support himself with his muscles by loading boats or scavenging in abandoned towns. The abandonment, selling, and leaving to die of the babies whose parents are rushing from the drowning towns and villages provides an emotional understanding to the consequences of large-scale economic decisions
Grief is ever-present in this novel. Grief for the disappearance of old towns and villages, grief for the destruction of farmers' centuries old connection to land repossessed for new cities, grief for the destruction of family ties and friendships, and grief that the promised leap forward for the country has turned into an opportunity for hard-hearted, conniving bureaucrats and capitalists to dominate.Read more ›
While I thought the writer might have chosen to linger longer on the first allusion to the deaths of Liu's wife and unborn baby, I found the writing and the pace persuasive (again, that convincing unfolding of the story) that I was willing to wait for more reflection and information later, and happily read on.
Already, I wonder what a man numbed by his losses can teach me, as he finds he's unable to loosen himself from the grips of his own kindness and his ability to love. I trust this writer will show me.
It is a beautifully told story of their dreams and losses, their interconnectedness and the way bureaucracy and corruption steals even the smallest hopes. There is affirmation in man's resilience and ability to abide.
In the Lap of the Gods, the mesmerizing debut novel by Li Miao Lovett, gives us an insight into one of the most transformative events of our time.
The Three Gorges Dam on China's Yangtze River is the largest dam ever built in the history of the world--part of China's strategy to transform itself into a premier industrial power. When the dam is completed, the wild Yangtze will become a giant bathtub and hundreds of thousands of poor people will be displaced. What is happening to these people whose world as they knew it has been destroyed? In the Lap of the Gods tells one of their stories.
A baby girl is abandoned by a desperate couple as they flee their tiny house. Rising water from the dam laps at the hillside below. Liu Renfu, a man who survives as a scavenger of the drowning towns, rescues the child. He calculates the price the girl might bring from another player in this new economy--the man who knows markets, including the adoption market. Yet in spite of the monumental hardship and disruption brought about by this new dam, we somehow know that Liu Renfu will not sell the child. Somehow, he will keep her, care for her, perhaps even love her.
Li Miao Lovett knows her subject. She has visited the dam. She has interviewed the people whose lives are forever changed. And she writes a captivating, fast paced story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed it - particularly since we spent a month in China and sailed down the Yangtzee River and toured the dam and the gorge area... Read morePublished on July 9, 2013 by Amazon Customer
The people of modern China still struggle to succeed in their lives and find happiness. "In the Lap of the Gods" is a novel following the story of a dam called the Three Gorges. Read morePublished on December 2, 2010 by Midwest Book Review
Li Miao Lovett has succeeded beautifully in writing a historical novel about the building of the Three Gorges Dam. The reader is carried through time as though in a dream state. Read morePublished on November 23, 2010 by writingmama
In The Lap Of The Gods is a novel that I could not put down when I started it. There are many themes in this novel. Read morePublished on October 16, 2010 by Robert G Yokoyama
It's hard to imagine a story with a more timely opening situation than Li Miao Lovett's In the Lap of the Gods. Read morePublished on February 17, 2008 by Andrew
Like the raging river in the opening scene of this book, Li Miao Lovett's In the Lap of the Gods is off to a roaring start. Read morePublished on February 17, 2008 by Sue Repko
I feel privileged to have been able to read an entire draft of this particular novel and to have participated in the author's creative process. Read morePublished on February 16, 2008 by Gina R. Davis
Li Miao Lovett's excerpt quickly draws in the reader to ponder the fates of Liu and the orphaned baby girl. Read morePublished on February 16, 2008 by Pauline