Middle Kingdom (Paperback)
For Grace, the ardent yet puzzled heroine of Andrea Barrett's third novel, this trip has been planned as a three-week stay: she's to play dutiful wife to Walter, her prominent scientist husband, at the 1986 Beijing International Conference on the Effects of Acid Rain. Walter is twelve years older than Grace, and as sour as the rain he studies; he and Grace are at a particularly troubled point in their marriage. Their tightly circumscribed visit, however, becomes a journey infinitely less tidy and more complex as Grace falls forever out of love with her husband and very much in love with this country and its culture. In the chaos of the Beijing streets and in the home of her new friends Dr. Yu and her son Zaofan, Grace finds the web of life she's been too lost to perceive. "Time you spend in the past and future is time you spend alone," Dr. Yu tells her. "But between them there is a middle kingdom, both feet planted here.
“An exhilerating book... wonderful insights.... Ms. Barrett has captured a truly authentic Beijing.”
“The Middle Kingdom is engaging. Andrea Barrett writes with felicity, intelligence, and humor.”
“With The Middle Kingdom, Andrea Barrett further consolidates her position as one of our most thoughtful chroniclers of contemporary life.... The Middle Kingdom is another impressive milestone in what promises to be a long and fruitful literary journey by an accomplished American author.”
“The MIddle Kingdom proves again that Andrea Barrett is a writer of talent and promise.”
“An affecting novel about an American woman's self-discovery.... Barrett here re-creates not China itself but, more reasonably, her heroine's fascination with it, and she manages to infuse her characters, Grace especially, with a psychic energy and charm.”