"Half century under Japan then half century under Kuomintang . . .too much,? my mother would sigh and shake her head." Miah means "fate" in Taiwanese. Spanning much of the twentieth century, these linked, subtly understated stories trace the destinies of simple folk from the brutal Japanese occupation of the early twentieth century through to the "White Terror" of the exiled Chinese Mainlanders and the Kuomintang, and finally to modern Taiwan and Canada. In the powerfully gripping "Miah," a woman from Vancouver accompanies her mother to Taiwan for her grandmother Ah Mah?s funeral. There she discovers the tragic story of Fifth Uncle, who was hounded by Kuomintang forces until he took pesticides and died . . . In "The Colonel and Mrs Wang" a Mainlander officer and his Taiwanese-raised son confront each other over politics. One day, the son is betrayed to the authorities. Who was the anonymous informer? . . . In the touching story "Lysander," a modern day Taiwanese boy is sent to Vancouver for his education. A diamond cannot be polished without friction, he has been taught. He must bear the hardship in an alien teenage culture where he tries to desperately cope and eventually loses himself. Miah is a rare look at Taiwanese and modern Canadian life, historical, and personal, and completely honest.
"These engaging and poignant stories provide a window into complexities of lives divided between Taiwan and Canada in the twentieth century. With each story another layer is peeled, moving us closer to understanding the price of survival under cruel and repressive regimes. A fine debut." - JUDY FONG BATES, author of China Dog and Other Stories "Julia Lin uses the short story form successfully to handle the subject of a novel---family saga. These intriguing short narratives engage the readers in an exploration of four generations of an extended family living across the Pacific Ocean in Taiwan and Vancouver; the narrative journey connects history, cultures and languages to detect and disclose both what the characters call a Taiwanese resilience and the skeletons in the family closet. Miah is a rich, interesting book to read about largely unknown aspects of Taiwanese Canadian culture." --LIEN CHAO, author of The Chinese Knot and Other Stories and Tiger Girl