Gus Lee embarks on a massive endeavor: recounting the story of his parents' lives and how their lives were influenced by their parents. Starting with his ancestors, Lee simultaneously tells the story of 19th and 20th Century China.
No details are varinshed over. Lee had a family member who was an opium addict who squandered what wealth his and his wife's family had. The family relationships are very entertwined as many generations live under the same roof. The inter-familial conflicts are many. Lee's father was remote and distant, but he had led a difficult life and his career in the military was not any easier. However, the Lee family was respected and in a position to know many political figures that shaped Chinese political events. As World War II approaches, Lee's father is in a position to visit the United States. One of his favorite actresses is Katherine Hepburn, whom he meets on one of his visits.
In recounting these stories from his parents, it is clear that Lee is attempting to better understand his father and mother, their relationship with each other, and how their lives affected their youngest child and only son.
This report prepared by ldpaulson