Saturday, January 19, 2013

Starry River of the Sky

Starry River of the Sky
by Grace Lin
Little, Brown, 2012.  288 pgs.  Fiction

       When Rendi is discovered as a stowaway on a wine merchant's cart, he is ignominiously dumped in the Village of Clear Sky, where he gets a job doing chores for Mr. Chao, in innkeeper. Though we don't know where Rendi has run away from, it is clear that he thinks himself too good for his new employment but he soldiers on, having no other choice. What troubles Rendi even more is that the moon is missing from the sky and he alone hears the moaning and sorrowing of a lost soul every night--is it the moon itself? As Rendi teases Peiyi, Mr. Chao's young daughter, worries about Mr. Chan, who can't tell the difference between a toad and a rabbit, and tries to solve the problem of the snail infestation that keeps Mr. Chao at odds with Widow Yan, he starts to feel at home. And when Madame Yang arrives as a guest of the inn, she tells stories that enlighten everyone and then requires stories of Rendi that help him understand himself and bring the moon back to the sky and the rain back to the earth.  A companion volume to Lin's Newbery Honor winning Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Starry  River of the Sky is filled with the same richness of character, folklore, and culture that characterized the first book and the storytelling is even better. 

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