By Raymond K. Wong
, available at Ray's official site and Amazon.com, where I would have liked to have posted this review, but apparently can't right now, and Barnes & Noble, where I have posted this review, but it may take a few days to show up.
In The Pacific Between we are introduced to Greg Lockland who has recently lost both of his parents. He is in his thirties, unmarried and coping with this loss without the support of an extended family. He has come back to California for the funeral and re-connected with Kate, the daughter of his parents' close friends, after ten years of growing steadily apart.
Greg's longtime friendship with Kate seems to be on the verge of becoming something more, but before Greg can truly understand that for himself, he discovers letters and pictures that bring up more questions than answers about his past, his father's relationships, and ultimately, whether the woman Greg really loves is Kate or Lian. Without explaining why he must go, or what he is feeling, to Kate, Greg leaves for Hong Kong to confront Lian with what he thinks he's learned.
The Pacific Between artfully moves between scenes from Greg's past and the present. Greg's search for Lian is also his search for understanding about himself and his relationship with his father. Woven throughout the book are scenes with other friends and acquaintances of Greg's that expose for us the boy he was, the man he has been and the man he is becoming.
The secondary characters are full of life and personality; each scene with them is just as important to the book as the scenes with Kate and Lian. Equally compelling are Raymond Wong's descriptions of Hong Kong that fully envelop one in the sights, sounds, and smells of the island. He truly has a fantastic way with words. I was transported to Hong Kong - it was colored by my memory of Tien Mou, Taiwan, and my more recent trip to Singapore, I'm sure, but I really felt like I was seeing it thru Greg's eyes. I want even more to go to Hong Kong after reading this book.
The Pacific Between is so tightly woven I'm hard pressed to uncover one extraneous bit of dialogue or description. The shift from chapter to chapter is effortless; the ending lives up to the rest of the novel in that it is the honest outcome of the journey Greg has made.
Ray, I hope I did ok with my review and didn't give away too much - I truly enjoyed your book and hope it is a great success.
contemporary fiction, Raymond Wong, book review,
Dawno, Pacific Between