Book Review: Ghost Forest by Pik-Shuen Fung

Ghost Forest by Pik-Shuen Fung: 9780593230961 |  Books

Title: Ghost Forest

Author: Pik-Shuen Fung

Genre: Literary Fiction

Number of Pages: 272

Rating: B

Recommended?: Yes

Ghost Forest is a dreamy, vignette-filled portrait of communication (or lack thereof) among families and the act of forgiving the people who raised you even if you can never fully understand them. The unnamed main character is a Chinese-American woman who is coping with the death of her dad. Through conversations with surviving family members and childhood recollections, she contends with the unusual and sometimes difficult way she grew up as the daughter of an ‘astronaut father’ who stayed in China for work when her and her mom immigrated.

This is a tender, sparsely written book which can easily be read in one sitting and a lot of the family drama and frustration between generations rang true to me. Neither of the main character’s parents were perfect people but she begins to understand them better over the course of the book. The main thing holding me back from giving Ghost Forest a higher rating was that I didn’t really find myself being emotionally moved by it. Maybe it’s because both of my parents are still alive or maybe it was a failure to connect with the narrator- I didn’t really know anything about her, not even her name. None of the characters had strong character traits that made me really care what happened to them, so ultimately this book was very well-written but also somewhat forgettable.

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