DemosNews: White Ghost Girls
White Ghost Girls
By: sakurachan

Iíve just read an intriguing (first) novel like none other, White Ghost Girls by Alice Greenway, 2006. Written in phrases, short sentences, stream of consciousness and narrative, all mingled, its words and thoughts ripple like running water, like poetry. A pungency of sounds and smells melds with the chaos, danger and mindset of Far Eastern venues at the cusp of upheaval to create the context. Iíve lived in Asia; flavor and tone are dead accurate.

The story unfolds as a memory: two sisters negotiate the turmoil of early adolescence while bedded with their family in Hong Kong. Their American father is absent far too much as photo journalist of the Vietnam War, and their mother emotionally absent too in her Puritan primness. They grow up half wild and half genteel, cleaving to and away from their coarse Chinese amah (nurse) in street markets and back areas and jungley undergrowth, but layered also with Western schooling and privilege. They desperately long for attention and love. Secrets, terrors, innocent delights, dares, boasts, danger, one sibling wishing fervently to protect the other, but barely being able to bear itóthe tale unfolds with exquisite nuance and insight. The attraction and revulsion that draw the father ever back to the thick cultural broth of wartime Vietnam parallel the urgency and repugnance of the girlsí visceral need for affection, both familial and sexual. This a novel of deep insight that remains seared on the brain long afterwards.

© 2022 sakurachan of DemosNews

October 26, 2008 at 0:56pm
DemosRating: 5
Hits: 1683

Genre: Arts (Reviews)
Type: Critical
Tags: adolescence, expatriots, sexual, awakening, Vietnam

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