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Author: Jean Kwok
Genre: Mystery/Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Published: June 4, 2019
Book Description: A poignant and suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties binding three women—two sisters and their mother—in one Chinese immigrant family and explores what happens when the eldest daughter disappears, and a series of family secrets emerge, from the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Translation
It begins with a mystery. Sylvie, the beautiful, brilliant, successful older daughter of the Lee family, flies to the Netherlands for one final visit with her dying grandmother—and then vanishes.
Amy, the sheltered baby of the Lee family, is too young to remember a time when her parents were newly immigrated and too poor to keep Sylvie. Seven years older, Sylvie was raised by a distant relative in a faraway, foreign place, and didn’t rejoin her family in America until age nine. Timid and shy, Amy has always looked up to her sister, the fierce and fearless protector who showered her with unconditional love.
But what happened to Sylvie? Amy and her parents are distraught and desperate for answers. Sylvie has always looked out for them. Now, it’s Amy’s turn to help. Terrified yet determined, Amy retraces her sister’s movements, flying to the last place Sylvie was seen. But instead of simple answers, she discovers something much more valuable: the truth. Sylvie, the golden girl, kept painful secrets . . . secrets that will reveal more about Amy’s complicated family—and herself—than she ever could have imagined.
A deeply moving story of family, secrets, identity, and longing, Searching for Sylvie Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family. It is a profound exploration of the many ways culture and language can divide us and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars
Review: I know I am probably last on the train to read this book, I purchased the day it came out and I finally just got to this. This book feels like it has been on everybody’s must read list summer and it totally is worth the hype. Searching for Sylvie Lee is in the same vain as Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You. It is a quiet literary mystery, that packs a major punch.
Sylvie Lee hold dual citizenship between the Netherlands and the United States. She decides to go back to the Netherlands after she finds out her grandmother is dying. As you read on, there is much more going on in Sylvia’s life than you can ever guess. Amy, Sylvie’s younger sister hears word that Sylvie is missing and decides to fly to the Netherlands to track down where she is. The mystery slowly unfurls for the entire length of the novel, and there are many supporting characters who help perpetuate this story of where is Sylvie Lee.
I personally savored this novel. The writing was exquisite along with a great mystery. I am getting a little tired of all the psychological thrillers out there, but Kwok, let the mystery unfurl naturally. This book is told in multiple POV’s and slightly mismatched timelines, but this all works and can’t imagine this story working out any other way. Beautiful quiet novel, good mix of character development and plot. I so wish there could be more books like this.