August 2013 Indie Next List
“If Lisa See and Elizabeth Bear collaborated on a book, the result would probably be something like Yangszee Choo's 'The Ghost Bride'. Set on the Malay Peninsula in the late 19th Century, this debut novel tells the story of Li Lan whose father promises her in marriage to the recently-dead son of a wealthy local family as a means of discharging his considerable debt. When the dead son begins visiting Li Lan in her dreams, she becomes increasing desperate to escape him. When an accidental overdose of a sleeping draught separates her sol from her body, she must navigate the world of the dead with the aid of two allies--Fan and Er Lang--neither of whom are whate they appear. Full of danger, romance, and eerie beauty, 'The Ghost Bride' is a fantastical novel about a young girl's quest to find her own destiny and choose love over duty.”
— Billie Bloebaum, Powell's Books At PDX, Portland, OR
A startlingly original voice makes her literary debut with this wondrous coming-of-age story infused with Chinese folklore, romantic intrigue, adventure, and fascinating, dreamlike twists
One evening, my father asked me whether I would like to become a ghost bride. . . .
Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.
Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, traditional ghost marriages are used to placate restless spirits. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.
After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lims' handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits, and monstrous bureaucracy--including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets--and the truth about her own family--before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.
About the Author
Yangsze Choo is a fourth-generation Malaysian of Chinese descent. She lives in California with her husband and their two children, and loves to eat and read (often at the same time).