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list price: $18.95
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category: Fiction
published: Sep 2016
ISBN:9781770412842
publisher: ECW Press
imprint: ECW000

The Conjoined

A Novel

by Jen Sookfong Lee

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literary
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $18.95
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook Audiobook
category: Fiction
published: Sep 2016
ISBN:9781770412842
publisher: ECW Press
imprint: ECW000
Description

A masterful and gripping novel from “an undeniably talented writer” (Globe and Mail)

On a sunny May morning, social worker Jessica Campbell sorts through her mother’s belongings after her recent funeral. In the basement, she makes a shocking discovery — two dead girls curled into the bottom of her mother’s chest freezers. She remembers a pair of foster children who lived with the family in 1988: Casey and Jamie Cheng — troubled, beautiful, and wild teenaged sisters from Vancouver’s Chinatown. After six weeks, they disappeared; social workers, police officers, and Jessica herself assumed they had run away.

As Jessica learns more about Casey, Jamie, and their troubled immigrant Chinese parents, she also unearths dark stories about Donna, whom she had always thought of as the perfect mother. The complicated truths she uncovers force her to take stock of own life.

Moving between present and past, this riveting novel unflinchingly examines the myth of social heroism and traces the often-hidden fractures that divide our diverse cities.

About the Author
Jen Sookfong Lee was born and raised in East Vancouver, British Columbia, and she now lives with her son in North Burnaby. Her books include The Conjoined, The Better Mother, The End of East and Shelter, a novel for young adults. A popular CBC Radio One personality, Jen appears regularly as a contributor on “The Next Chapter” and is a frequent co-host of the Studio One Book Club. Jen teaches writing at The Writer's Studio Online with Simon Fraser University and with the Continuing Studies department of the University of British Columbia. For more information, visit www.sookfong.com.
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Contributor Notes

Jen Sookfong Lee was born and raised on Vancouver’s East Side, where she now lives with her son. Her books include The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, The End of East, and Shelter. A popular radio personality, Jen was the voice behind CBC Radio One’s weekly writing column, Westcoast Words, for three years, appears regularly as a contributor on The Next Chapter, and is a frequent co-host of the Studio One Book Club. Jen teaches writing in the continuing studies departments at both Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia.

Awards
  • Short-listed, The Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
Editorial Review

“The mystery of how the girls died is not the book’s main focus, but this captivating novel still moves with the pace of a thriller as it deftly fills in the gaps in the lives of several people, each fractured by horrors of their very own, joined as one in betrayal, trauma, and uncertainty.”  — Publishers Weekly

The Conjoined is a complex, refreshing and relevant departure from a well-worn approach, one that’s best tackled after surrendering your expectations.” — The Globe and Mail

“An insightful look at a daughter’s efforts to come to terms with the past.” — Toronto Star

“Every once in a while, a book comes along that is both universal in its readability and specific in its appeal to Vancouverites . . . This is a page-turner — guaranteed to be read hungrily in one or two sittings — but an intensely literary one.” — Georgia Straight

“Sookfong Lee is a gifted writer, telling a complicated story with depth and insight . . . The Conjoined is a quick, compelling read. But its characters and their stories will linger.” — Vancouver Sun

“Flawlessly written and a page-turner for sure, The Conjoined is a rare read.” — Owen Sound Sun Times

“Lee draws from Vancouver’s social history, pop culture and an exploration of family dynamics for a woman-focused, refreshing take on the traditional thriller.” — Metro Toronto

“Sookfong Lee weaves an intricate and unsettling narrative about identity by pairing seemingly disparate stories into a single work which resists the traditional form of a novel in a way which echoes the messy complexity of real life . . . the novel is fresh, and frank, and infuriating — a narrative which resists closure and demands compassion.” — Ottawa Review of Books

“Lee draws from Vancouver’s social history, pop culture and an exploration of family dynamics for a woman-focused, refreshing take on the traditional thriller.” — Metro Toronto

“Lee’s pen makes dangerous, poetic strokes, creating something both literary and textured, etched in satin and grit. Told in character vignettes too immediate to be called flashbacks, The Conjoined is a hungry and visceral novel, anchored in place and time.” — Scene Magazine

“With flawless writing and gothic imagination, Lee shows how a forgotten crime can reveal uncomfortable truths about family, class, and racism. The Conjoined is a fearless novel and a compulsive read.” — Emily Schultz author of The Blondes

“Though the plot races along, I found depths to The Conjoined that moved me . . . This book is a gem of necessary truths.” — A Bookish Type

“This is a story about family relationships and how they can break and fail. It’s also about identity, suffering, broken social systems, and understanding how the past forms us. There’s a lot going on here, but these themes organically engage and shape one another.” — Falling Letters

“Creating a protagonist such as Jessica Campbell allows Lee to flesh out in unflinching and sometimes droll ways the hamartia of privilege . . . If one person’s escape is another’s adversity, The Conjoined implies that we can no longer avert our eyes.” — The Malahat Review

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