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Song of the Silk Road Paperback – April 1, 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Yip's lively new novel manages to be at once modern and traditional. Struggling scribe Lily Lin is writing her Chinese-American family saga, stuck in a dead-end relationship with a married man, and employed as a waitress in a Chinese restaurant in midtown Manhattan. When she is contacted by a law firm representing a previously unknown but apparently wealthy Chinese aunt, she ignores her good fortune, thinking it fishy, "like a clichéd plot in a cheap novel." But it's not, and if Lily follows her aunt's obsessive instructions to retrace her own Silk Road sojourn, Lily will receive three million dollars. She accepts the challenge, and thus begins an absorbing journey that only seems to make sense as a way of uniting the Chinese and Western halves of Lily's heritage. Surprising and often funny. Yip's (Peach Blossom Pavilion) modern heroine's quest is filled with unique companions, unforeseen dangers, unexpected joys, and bitter sorrows. Part epic, part coming-of-age story, part modern fairy tale, it only falters in an easy ending, which readers, by then in love with Lily Lin, will likely forgive. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington; 1 edition (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758241828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758241825
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #954,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Who of us does not imagine that one day a letter will arrive transforming our ordinary existence by bringing adventure, romance, money... My own dreams frequently have taken me to the fabled Silk Road that connects some of the world's most remote places. So I opened this new book with its luminous green cover with great expectations. I had thoroughly enjoyed Yip's previous two novels, Peach Blossom Pavilion and Petals from the Sky.

I am glad to say that my expectations were fully met. Indeed, I am now feeling the effects of staying up most of last night to finish it.

The heroine, Lily Lin, is living in New York and wondering where her life is going when the letter arrives. At a meeting with a stuffy lawyer she is told that an aunt, whom she had never known existed, has promised her a reward of 3 million dollars if she retraces the aunt's own exploits on the Silk Road.

Yip vividly conveys the sense of traveling along the Silk Road, one of the harshest environments on the planet. She crosses the Taklamakan desert -- the name means "Go in, won't come out" -- and ascents the high Mountains of Heaven.

There is also a love story that begins with Lily been seen by a young many while she bathes secretly in the pool of an ancient palace. Of course many obstacles arise for them. I will not say how this part ends.

There were many unexpected details that I enjoyed: Lily's friendship with a Chinese Muslim woman -- there are many in China but rarely written about -- Lily's "yin eye" -- the ability to see the spirts of the dead, the "upside-down hanging lotus position," what happens with her all-too-married boyfriend, and more that I will not reveal.
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Format: Paperback
I don't think that I have read a book set in China before. I really liked the story line as it was peppered with descriptions of beautiful locations and much cultural history. It moved along pretty quickly, changing locales and "tasks" and keeping me interested in to where Lily would have to go next and who she might meet along the way. There were many colorful characters from monks to fortune tellers to other travelers.

After starting it, I was not readily invested in the character of Lily Lin. She seemed very shallow and self-centered and sometimes the dialogue seemed a little stilted. I think that Lily comes full circle though and even though the ending contained an unforeseen twist, it had a very satisfactory conclusion.

Yip has two previous novels out, Peach Blossom Pavilion and Petals from the Sky that I think I will adding to my TBR list.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ms. Yip's detailed descriptions of places in China and the remarkable things found there is very impressive. However, her characters are not convincing. Her portrayals of them are without real feeling, and the dialogue is stilted and unnatural. They experienced no believable transitions from one mood or experience, to another, and it was impossible for me to feel any connection to them, or to care what their fates might be.

I did wonder if the novel was translated from her original language, but I did not see that indicated anywhere.
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Format: Paperback
SONG OF SILK ROAD is a breath-taking read that is one of the best I have read so far this year. Lily is a deep character who has the ability to make her way into your heart. This is a fantastic book that goes beyond entertaining the reader. I highly recommend that you pick up a copy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sorry I ordered THREE of this author's books books at once. The positive reviews convinced me to risk it. I was wrong...so sad. Her ideas for her novels are full of great potential, but in the second book I've read of the 3 (last one hasn't arrived yet), same issue as first one I read...she introduces an interesting female protagonist, then in the first few chapters, introduces a male protagonist who falls in love with her immediately (even though she doesn't with him) and who apparently pays no attention to her wants, yet she stays with him. MAKES NO SENSE to the character she initially introduced. Not even sure if I'll finish the book, I'm so disappointed in this author.
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It might just be my preference, but I wanted to read this book because the journey sounded intriguing. And it is a great idea. I thought there was too much superficial information in many spots which slowed the story line. I'm talking about information that really is detail but doesn't enhance the overall storyline. I really was disappointed in a preoccupation with sex...I might just be a prude...but honestly I think the focus on sex made the story lean more toward the physical rather than the intellectual overall. I think there is a strong spiritual aspect associated with China, and I didn't see that in this story. There was the supernatural and new age aspects. In my life sex is the byproduct of love...and a special event not to be played out with each and everyone you meet. It is commonly held, however, that the sex act is called lovemaking....but love is a commitment, and in this story calling sex lovemaking didn't quite fit because there was no commitment. There was insight for sure, and I commend the author for writing the story in the first place.
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