Jamie Ford’s novel about the life of a Chinese man and his childhood relationship with a Japanese classmate can be summed up in one word: unfair.
Henry Lee watches in astonishment as his world is filled with injustices. He expects and accepts the hecklings of his young peers, but is shocked and disgusted by the ostracization he sees in his community and even from his own parents.
Henry is torn from his best friend by a terrified and overprotective society; as well as terrified and overprotective parents. Both tried to shield those in their protection from possible, yet improbable, dangers.
Though nothing works out as the adolescent Henry had intended, he was able to recognize that “the crash is imminent; [and] it’s how you spend your time on the way down that counts.” Henry lives a full life with a wife and a son he loves dearly.
Life is always unfair, and nothing works out according to your plans. Find and appreciate the balance between the bitter and the sweet. Embrace it. Build your life around it.