Green Island: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Green Island is a triumph. It's got everything going for it — epic historical setting, multi-generational sweep, insight after lacerating insight, gorgeous sentences that will thrill lit snobs but won't alienate more casual readers, and plot, plot, plot. Things happen in this novel. Important things. Devastating things. Hopeful things. Things I'll never forget. I love this book. —Brandon

— From Brandon's Picks

March 2016 Indie Next List

“Like Vaddey Ratner's In the Shadow of the Banyan, Ryan's heartbreaking novel takes readers to an island with a history unknown to many: Taiwan. Rarely portrayed in a work of fiction, Taiwan is an island of complex political relations, families torn apart by political unrest, and a lush and beautiful physical landscape. Told in luscious prose, Green Island teaches readers about the humanity of mankind, the brutality of political power and unrest, and why some secrets are never told. I cannot wait to handsell this!”
— Annie Philbrick (E), Bank Square Books (DO NOT USE), Mystic, CT


Taipei, February 28, 1947: As an uprising rocks Taiwan, a young doctor is taken from his newborn daughter by Chinese Nationalists, on charges of speaking out against the government. Although he eventually returns to his family, his arrival is marked by alienation from his loved ones and paranoia among his community. Years later, this troubled past follows his youngest daughter to America, where, as a mother and a wife, she too is forced to decide between what is right and what might save her family—the same choice she witnessed her father make many years before. A stunningly lyrical story of a family and a nation grappling with the nuances of complicity and survival, Green Island raises the question: how far would you go for the ones you love?

About the Author

Shawna Yang Ryan is a former Fulbright scholar and the author of one previous novel, Water Ghosts; she teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Her short fiction has appeared in ZYZZYVA, The Asian American Literary Review, Kartika Review, and Berkeley Fiction Review. She lives in Honolulu.

Praise For…

Winner of the Association for Asian American Studies Best Book Award in Fiction

“A tough, unsentimental, and moving novel that is a memorial not only to the heroes, but also to the survivors.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer

“Sweeping . . . as epic in scope as the story is intimate.” —The Arizona Republic

“A chilling, convincing picture of Taiwan during the years of authoritarian rule.” —Los Angeles Times
“Ryan embraces the complexity of the situation, by not creating heroes but instead exploring the truth of compromise, survival and belonging.” —The New York Times

“Moving and suspenseful. . . . Full of compassion.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
Product Details
ISBN: 9781101872369
ISBN-10: 1101872365
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: January 10th, 2017
Pages: 400
Language: English
Series: Please Use This Code.