Red Oblivion

Overview

Family secrets surface when two sisters travel to Hong Kong to care for their ill father.

When Jill Lau receives an early morning phone call that her elderly father has fallen gravely ill, she and her sister Celeste catch the first flight from Toronto to Hong Kong. The man they find languishing in the hospital is a barely recognizable shadow of his old, indomitable self.

According to his housekeeper, a couple of mysterious photographs arrived anonymously in the mail in the days before his collapse. These pictures are only the first link in a chain of events that begin to reveal the truth about their father’s past and how he managed to escape from Guangzhou, China, during the Cultural Revolution, and make a new life for himself in Hong Kong. Someone from the old days has returned to haunt him — exposing the terrible things he did to survive and flee one of the most violent periods of Chinese history, reinvent himself, and make the family fortune. Can Jill piece together the story of her family’s past without sacrificing her father's love and reputation?

Reviews

★ Shimotakahara’s writing is personal and entrancing, unflinchingly shining a light on this difficult part of history.

Booklist, for After the Bloom

Shimotakahara writes with refined sensitivity about the fragility of human nature, and how such vulnerability can transform into strength in the name of love.

Ottawa Review of Books, for After the Bloom

About the Author