Three generations of Chinese-American women in a San Francisco family must confront their past and carve out a future in this extraordinary novel, a "haunting" debut full of "shimmering and unforgettable" characters. (New York Times Book Review)
The Kong women are in crisis. A disastrous trip to visit her home orphanage in China has plunged eighteen-year-old Ari into a self-destructive spiral. Her adoptive mother, Charlie, a lawyer with a great heart, is desperate to keep her daughter safe. Meanwhile, Charlie must endure the prickly scrutiny of her beautiful, Bryn Mawr educated mother, Gran--who, as the daughter of a cultured Chinese doctor, came to America to survive Mao's Revolution--and her sister, Les, a brilliant judge with a penchant to rule over everyone's lives.
As they cope with Ari's journey of discovery and its aftermath, the Kong women will come face to face with the truths of their lives--four powerful intertwining stories of accomplishment, tenacity, secrets, loneliness, and love. Beautifully illuminating the bonds of family and blood, The Year She Left Us explores the promise and pain of adoption, the price of assimilation and achievement, the debt we owe to others, and what we owe ourselves.