I have to finish reading The Eighth Promise before I leave for Halifax.
You see, I borrowed it from the library and it would be costly if it got recalled while I was away. Besides, it’s a fascinating read. ;-)
I was first drawn to the book from the tagline, “An American son’s tribute to his Toisanese mother”. At the mention of 台山, my father’s and his forefathers’ region, I perked up. In a way few writers could, an Americanized writer can compellingly recount the history of Toisan, the region that is the backwater of Canton, the province consider to be the backwater of China!
But what if I would not enjoy William Poy Lee’s style of writing or the story he tells? So I borrowed it rather than buying it.
So far, I have read about the Clan Sisterhood that only existed in a time and place where the individual and a single family’s fortunes were not the sole focus. I’ve also learned which ingredients go into the most traditional Chi soups and when they are served. =D
I take notes when I read, creating an index that points back to the paragraphs and chapters that were most memorable or useful for future reference. The index card serves as a second bookmark. =P
In the case of this novel, I am also creating a Toisanese dictionary, copying down the Romanization of the Toisanese-Chinese term with Lee’s translation. Then, to pin down how different Toisanese (an earthy and village dialect) is different from Cantonese that is used in the cities, I’ll write down the Cantonese term. It’s not unlike when I created my simplified Chinese dictionary – ultra-geeky.