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Fiction Literary

Calls Across the Pacific

by (author) Zoë S. Roy

Inanna Publications
Initial publish date
Oct 2015
Literary, Contemporary Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2015
    List Price

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Fleeing the Cultural Revolution, a young Nina Huang says goodbye to her family and friends, and steals across the bay to Hong Kong, afterward immigrating to the U.S. and later to Canada. Twice she returns to China to reunite with her mother as well as friends, and to see how Chinese society and politics are evolving. However, as an escaped citizen who has returned with an American passport, Nina puts herself in dangerous situations and finds herself needing to flee from the red terror once again.

About the author

Born in China, Zoë S. Roy, an avid reader even during the Cultural Revolution, writes literary fiction with a focus on women’s cross-cultural experiences. Her publications include a collection of short stories, Butterfly Tears (2009), and two novels, The Long March Home (2011) and Calls Across the Pacific (2015), all published by Inanna Publications. She holds an M.A. in Atlantic Canada Studies from Saint Mary’s University and a M.Ed. in Adult Education from the University of New Brunswick. She currently lives in Toronto and is a teacher for the Toronto Public School Board.

Zoë S. Roy's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Zoe S. Roy's novel, Calls Across the Pacific, is a fascinating journey of a young woman, Nina Huang, whose adventure begins during the Cultural Revolution in China, follows her immigration to the United States, and eventually leads her to a new life in Canada. The story entwines the intimacy of a memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history, enmeshing us in the challenges of breaking away not only from the violent persecution of communism, but also from the oppressive moral norms of a tradition bound China. This courageous tale of perseverance in the face of adversity is a timeless rendering of the never ending quest for transformation and beauty." --Bianca Lakoseljac, author of Summer of the Dancing Bear"With Calls Across the Pacific, Zoë Roy continues to plumb her firsthand knowledge of everyday life in Maoist China. Her experience of this endlessly fascinating era, combined with a talent for detailed, humorous and sometimes heartbreaking storytelling, makes for a fine novel which delights and informs in equal measure. Roy captures the culture shock that assaults her protagonist Nina Huang, and shows how her birth culture never quite lets go, despite ownership of the iconic American passport."--Amanda Hale, author of Sounding the Blood, The Reddening Path, My Sweet Curiosity, and In the Embrace of the Alligator

User Reviews

Calls Across the Pacific

Another great novel by Zoe S. Roy. I learned so much about the Cultural Revolution. It's like a history lesson that I couldn't put down. I liked the simple, straightforward flow of the book and learning more about Nina. As an Atlantic Canadian, I appreciated the East Coast settings. Well done!

An intriguing story

It’s an intriguing story of a bold woman who escaped from Mao’s China and lived in North America. I enjoyed reading her experience. Some were scaring and some were funny. The novel took me back to other times and places.

Escape From Maoist China

A brilliant historical fiction set in the 1970s of a young woman who escaped Maoist China to freedom via Hong Kong to the US and finally comes to rest in Canada. But she doesn't find her final rest until she is able to go back and find out what happened to those she left behind, which she is able to do in the days leading up to the death of Chairman Mao. The story flashes between the present 1970s and the early 1960s when Nina's family was persecuted by the Mao regime and she herself was at first a Red Guard before being shamed for her parent's crimes and sent to a re-education camp. Takes a good look at the travesties inflicted on the people of any ilk under Mao's regime and Nina through her research on political science and a book she is writing brings both the political system and capitalism vs communism under the lens of an inquiring mind. The writer leads us through the people of China, showing that revolutions don't always end with the people as victors. Communism uses the people as a tool and leaves the people questioning why nothing gets any better. I found the book a quick read and enjoyed Nina as a character, at times the book even veered off into romance mode, but not too much :-) We are left with the people of China, especially the students, hoping the death of Mao now means some Western reform will come, some freedoms of thought and speech. It's a happy place to leave the people. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be and an author's note on the continued persecution of political crimes, human right's violations, the violent student uprising at Tiananmen Square, etc. would have been appropriate. But nonetheless, a lovely story. Roy's writing flows beautifully and I've enjoyed every one of her books to date.

Calls Across the Pacific

Calls Across the Pacific is a novel about people trying to live their lives within a background of large political events. Zoë S. Roy uses her profound experience of life during the Cultural Revolution and as an immigrant to create Nina, the young and adventurous protagonist.

From a reeducation farm in Mao's China to Hong Kong and North America, the locations give a deep sense of Nina's life and expanding knowledge of the world. Over the course of nine years, we follow Nina as she explores a new culture, and works to find a meaningful life.

This novel resonates with calls to the heart and mind. Cut off from loved ones and friends, pulled between old loyalties and new, Nina explores the issues with an adventurous spirit that is willing to take risks to resolve them.

This book demonstrates the generosity of individuals on both sides of the Pacific and above all is a good story.

Other titles by Zoë S. Roy