Red Oblivion


Product Details

$21.99  $20.23
Dundurn Group
Publish Date
October 15, 2019
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Leslie Shimotakahara holds a Ph.D. in English from Brown University. Her memoir, The Reading List, won the Canada-Japan Literary Award in 2012, and her fiction has been shortlisted for the K.M. Hunter Artist Award. Leslie lives in Toronto.


I started reading Leslie Shimotakahara's Red Oblivion in an airline waiting room with a storm brewing outside and found myself welcoming a flight delay because I might be able to keep reading for an extra couple of hours. In other words, it's a very compelling book!--Maria Meindl, 49th Shelf
Red Oblivion is a beautifully written, gripping mystery which captures the struggles between generations, times, and places. Leslie Shimotakahara skillfully illustrates the internal conflicts of daughters with modern Canadian sensibilities challenged by age-old Chinese familial expectations. Detailed renderings of today's Hong Kong provide a fascinating backdrop for this engrossing tale of the continuing legacy of the Cultural Revolution. A literary page-turner. Shimotakahara's best work to date.--Julia Lin, author of Shadows of the Crimson Sun
A contemplation of family and the past in a rapidly changing, internationally important city with its own complicated history.--Booklist
Shimotakahara's writing is personal and entrancing--Booklist, starred review for After the Bloom
Celeste and Jill Lau only begin to learn the truth about their father when they rush from Toronto to his hospital bedside in Hong Kong. Stubbornly silent about his early years in China, their Ba has been receiving threats that allude to a crime in his past, but still refuses to explain. Red Oblivion is one of the most masterful narratives I've ever read about a horrific chapter in China's history, told through an intricate, mesmerizing tale of family and identity. Leslie Shimotakahara's writing is both beautiful and bruising.--Janie Chang, author of Dragon Springs Road
A heartbreaking story in which the past haunts the present and bleeds into the future...She deftly articulates the many ways human beings can justify wrongdoing if it leads to a good outcome, describing the inconceivable with nuance while conveying both shock and banality. Shimotakahara displays virtuosity in this subtle deconstruction of one family's tainted origins.--Kirkus Reviews
Haunting and true to life, Red Oblivion will captivate readers. Shimotakahara skillfully weaves history and imagination to tell a story about a daughter's quest to unravel her father's complicated past so that others can understand its far-reaching influence on their present lives. A strong narrative voice draws us into a world of secrets, sacrifices, and betrayals, transporting readers from Canada to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China -- only to find that the complex truths that bind friendships and families are often universal.--Ann Y.K. Choi, author of Kay's Lucky Coin Variety
[A] moving--and deeply honest--portrait of a family that desperately needs to let go of its baggage, so that they can move into a better future.--A Bookish Type
Shimotakahara writes with refined sensitivity about the fragility of human nature, and how such vulnerability can transform into strength in the name of love.--Ottawa Review of Books, for After the Bloom
A story about life in contemporary Hong Kong as well as the region's complicated history with mainland China, Red Oblivion feels particularly relevant to read in this current moment.--Booktrib