August 29, 2013

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

In the British ruled colony of Malaya in 1893, an opium addicted father tells his daughter he received an unusual marriage proposal for her.  The wealthy Lim family has a son that recently passed away and they want Li Lan to marry him.  To marry the living to the deceased is an uncommon practice but nonetheless it is custom in order to placate a spirit.  Li Lan would then be taken care of in the family’s home for life.  Although, with zero other marriage prospects, Li Lan is not pleased with this proposal.  Things are even worse when Lim Tian Ching begins to haunt Li Lan in her dreams.  Choo creates a detailed parallel world of the dead in which Li Lan finds herself trapped.  I hadn’t ever considered tales of the Chinese afterlife to be so desirable but Choo writes on such a level to make the supernatural alluring.