Ursula, UnderBook - 2005
In Michigan's Upper Peninsula, a dangerous rescue effort draws the ears and eyes of the entire country. A two-year-old girl has fallen down a mine shaft and it is as if all hope for life on the planet is bound up in her rescue. Little Ursula Wong is the first and only child of a young woman of Finnish extraction and her Chinese-American husband. The Wongs live in a decrepit mobile home and their child is designated by one member of the TV audience as 'half-breed trailer trash', not worth all the attention and expense. Oh yeah? responds the story's narrative voice. Let's just see. And here the novel explodes into a grand saga of culture, history and heredity. second-century-B.C. Chinese alchemist; an orphaned consort to a sixteenth-century Swedish queen; Professor Alabaster Wong, a Chautauqua troupe lecturer on exotic Chinese topics travelling the Midwest at the end of the nineteenth century; and Ursula's great-great-grandfather, Jake Maki, a mine worker who died in a cave-in at age twenty-nine. Ursula's ultimate fate echoes those of her ancestors, many of whom so narrowly escaped not being born that any given individual's life comes to seem a miracle. Ambitious and accomplished, Ursula, Under is, most of all, wonderfully entertaining.
Publisher: London : Cape, 2005.
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