Buzzed Books #25 by Leslie Salas
Across a Green Ocean
Across a Green Ocean, by Wendy Lee, presents the intertwined stories of an immigrant mother and her two children living in the suburbs of New York City. When Ling can’t get a hold of her son, Michael, she sends his older sister, Emily, to check up on him.
Ling’s concern for her children resonates as authentically as her self-conscious speech patterns, offering a nuanced glimpse into her worries about her place in a society so different from the one she grew up in. Her daughter Emily struggles as a woman so dedicated to her work at a law firm representing immigrants like her parents that she neglects her husband’s eagerness to build a family. The son Michael, known for his quiet artistic talents and friendship with the girl next door, harbors a secret identity from his family and a curiosity that takes him half the world away to find answers.
The lives of this aging mother and her grown children unfurl–Michael is missing, Emily’s relationship with her husband is on the brink, and Ling must come to terms with moving nearly a year after the death of her spouse. This masterfully crafted novel weaves three simultaneous perspectives–of the mother, daughter, and son–with engaging and believable narrates in the unique voices of each character, reflecting their background, education, and temperament. Through the course of these pages, Lee’s brushstrokes paint a compelling portrait of an immigrant family’s struggles culminating in the unveiling of a horrible family secret, leaving hope for a solid foundation to rebuild their familial relationships, come to peace with their identities, and find their places in the world across the green ocean.
Pair with: Snow Beer, the most popular beer in the world, which you have to travel to China to try.
Leslie Salas (episode 75, Gutter Space) writes fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, and comics. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida and attended the University of Denver Publishing Institute. In addition to being an Associate Course Director at Full Sail University, Leslie also serves as an assistant editor for The Florida Review, a graphic nonfiction editorial assistant for Sweet: A Literary Confection, and a regular contributing artist for SmokeLong Quarterly.