When twenty-year-old Meng Ning declares that she wants to be a Buddhist nun, her mother is aghast. In her eyes, a nun's life means only deprivation - 'no freedom, no love, no meat'. But to Meng Ning, it means the chance to control her own destiny, and to live in an oasis of music, art, and poetry far from her parents' unhappy union. With an enigmatic nun known as Yi Kong, 'Depending on Emptiness', as her mentor, Meng Ning spends the next ten years studying abroad, disdaining men, and preparing to enter the nunnery. Then, a fire breaks out at her Buddhist retreat, and Meng Ning is carried to safety by Michael Fuller, a young American doctor. The unprecedented physical contact stirs her curiosity. And as their tentative friendship grows intimate, Meng Ning realizes she must choose between the sensual and the spiritual life.
Mingmei Yip was born in China and received her Ph.D. from the University of Paris, Sorbonne. She has written for major Hong Kong newspapers, and has appeared on many national and international television and radio programs. She immigrated to the United States in 1992, where she now lives in New York City with her husband. Her novels have been published in ten different languages and she is also an accomplished musician and calligrapher. Visit her at www.mingmeiyip.com.