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Water into Wine Paperback – September 25, 2017
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Xin is a complex character whose emotions and experiences feel as real on the page as picking up someone's diary. Though the story's set in the far future and on a distant planet, Xin's Southeast Asian roots and culture continue to play an important role in their life... from everyday things like food and names to matters of greater spiritual significance. Language, holidays, and beliefs from Xin's ancestors are all alive and well in their life. It's a wonderful and immersive take on sci-fi, and I was utterly drawn in from the beginning.
This is one of those books that's hard to review because there's so much to it, and I feel like my descriptive abilities aren't up to doing it justice. Every attempt to talk about what I liked and such feels like I'm reducing it to some simplified version. So I'll leave it here and settle for saying that this is a gorgeously written and hypnotic book, and that I highly recommend it.
The world building also was well done, especially the parts regarding language and the nature of cultural transferral from Old Earth to these new planets. Overall, a highly recommended read!
Xin’s character development was fascinating. He was a transgender man who had recently begun questioning his gender identity yet again at the beginning of this tale. Given that he was also a single parent and the brand new owner of a vineyard despite the fact that he knew very little about growing grapes or making wine, there was plenty of room for him to evolve as a person. I deeply enjoyed seeing how Xin made decisions about everything from what his gender identity was to running a vineyard to adjusting to life on an alien planet.
There were pacing issues. Some scenes were fast-paced while others were much slower. Either writing style would have worked quite well for this tale, but I found it hard to switch between them because of how often the narrator moved from one style to the next. As soon as I adjusted to a slower form of storytelling, the pacing would pick up again with another bombing or nearby battle.
One of the things I liked the most about this story was how beautifully it described the characters and setting in such a compact number of sentences. Ms. Chng weighed out her words so precisely that she was able to show me exactly what everyone looked and sounded like in an incredibly short amount of time. The same thing can be said for her descriptions of the house, wine cellar, and vineyards. My impressions of them were strong and clear the first time she told me what they were like.
I’d recommend Water Into Wine to anyone who has ever wondered what a large battle between many spaceships would be like from the perspective of a civilian living on the ground.
originally posted at long and short reviews
And then those problems are dwarfed by an external threat: war. First in the news, then on the horizon, and eventually at their doorway.
The story asks, What do you give up and what do you hang on to?
Most recent customer reviews
Xin inherits a vineyard and decides to embark on a new life (and career), packing up and moving, with her mother and...Read more