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Happy Family

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


When Hua Wu arrives in New York City, her life seems destined to resemble that of countless immigrants before her. She spends her hectic days in a restaurant in Chinatown, and her lonesome nights in a noisy, crowded tenement, yearning for those she left behind. But one day in a park in the West Village, Hua meets Jane Templeton and her daughter, Lily, a two-year-old adopted from China. Eager to expose Lily to the language and culture of her birth country, Jane hires Hua to be her nanny.

Hua soon finds herself in a world far removed from the cramped streets of Chinatown or her grandmother’s home in Fuzhou, China. Jane, a museum curator of Asian art, and her husband, a theater critic, are cultured and successful. They pull Hua into their circle of family and friends until she is deeply attached to Lily and their way of life. But when cracks show in the family’s perfect façade, what will Hua do to protect the little girl who reminds her so much of her own past? A beautiful and revelatory novel, Happy Family is the promising debut of a perceptive and graceful writer.

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 03, 2008 – Lee's debut novel is the heartfelt story of Hua Wu, a young Chinese immigrant who comes to New York City and serendipitously becomes a nanny to an adopted Chinese girl, Lily Templeton-Walker, after meeting her American mother, Jane, in the park. Hua becomes attached to the child and involved in the family, but is disturbed when she uncovers trouble in Jane's marriage. She begins to snoop around her employers' apartment hoping to discover the reason behind the turmoil; the more she finds the more she fears what will happen if Lily's parents separate. This drama takes second stage when Hua meets Evan, the man with whom she wrongly assumed Jane was having an affair. Hua and Evan have an odd one-night stand, during which the author flashes back to Hua's sexual encounter with a teacher in China. Hua's memory of Teacher Zhang leads to a revelation about her past, which prompts Hua to attempt to protect Lily from the pain of her parents' conflict a rare instance in which Hua takes action. Unfortunately, Lee's impassioned storytelling is unable to make up for prose that is at times overwritten and melodramatic. The passive and often stereotypical characters make this portrait of a Chinese immigrant feel simplistic and uninspired.
Happy Family
View in iTunes
  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Jun 17, 2008
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Seller: Perseus Books, LLC
  • Print Length: 240 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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