Mary Chang has settled into suburban American life. She has a steady professional job, a young son, devoted Christian friends, a ten-year-old marriage, and the home mortgage to go with it. While Mary worries about her lukewarm relationship with her American-born husband and the disconnect she feels with her mother and sister Ingrid, she's content to deal with these mundane struggles. After a childhood spent during the tumultuous days of the Cultural Revolution, Mary believes that China - and her family's own painful history - is in the past, and should be left alone. By contrast, Ingrid lives a Bohemian life, moving from coast to coast. She eschews the trappings of typical adulthood, and prefers the passionate Latin customs of her friends to her own native culture. For Ingrid - who was present at the Tiananmen Square massacre, when Mary was already studying in the States - China and her family's past is an ever-present consideration that colours the way she views the world around her.
When Mary convinces their mother, Wang Feng-lan, to visit the US with the possibility of emigrating permanently, the secrets and tensions that have lain dormant between the three women begin to emerge. As Mary and Ingrid navigate their own emotions and dissatisfaction with life, old family secrets start to come to light - including what Feng-lan and her husband lost in the turbulent days of China's transformations, and how that shaped the lives of both her daughters.
Fan Wu's debut novel, February Flowers, has been translated into eight languages, and her short fiction has been anthologised and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.