Repeat After Me by Rachel DeWoskin

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Repeat After Me by Rachel DeWoskin

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luci Davin
Reviewed by Luci Davin
Summary: An American woman writes down the story of her relationship with a troubled Chinese man, perhaps for their daughter to read in the future.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 319 Date: June 2010
Publisher: Gerald Duckworth
ISBN: 978-07 1563 8996

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September 1989: It is a few months after the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, China. Aysha is teaching English at a private language school in New York City. She makes friends with some of her students. Da Ge is angry and disruptive yet attractive and interesting at the same time, and they quickly become involved, although his interest in her is not as romantic as, perhaps, she would like it to be. He asks her to marry him so he can stay in the country. Aysha agrees, although there is still a lot she does not know about the mysterious, unstable Da Ge.

September 2002: Aysha is living in Beijing with a 12 year old daughter. She is writing down her story trying to explain what happened, in case Julia wants to know in the future.

This novel was a quick, compelling read. Aysha has her own problems – she has recently spent time in psychiatric care and is still quite vulnerable. I was drawn to her character, a young woman who is really interested in her students and cares about them, who tries to find out about what is going on around her, who is open to other cultures and perspectives, and in the end has a lot of decisions to make about her life. I found her courageous and engaging.

The character of Da Ge is not so likeable – he comes across as angry and manipulative, and Aysha later finds out far more about him which is not so nice. However, I understood what attracted Aysha.

There are also several other friendships portrayed in the story, with lots of warmth and support, and there’s the creation of Aysha’s daughter Julia – a bright 12 year old who is very comfortable moving between the different cultures of Beijing and her American mother and other Western families living there.

Although the relationship between Aysha and Da Ge is at the centre of the novel, I really liked the mother daughter part of the story.

Thank you to the publishers for sending a copy of this book to The Bookbag.

Another mother daughter story is Remembering The Bones by Frances Itani. The Bookbag has reviewed quite a few crime novels set in China. Trail of Blood by S J Rozan is set in present day New York City and Shanghai in the Thirties and Forties. Paper Butterfly by Diane Wei Liang is set in Beijing.

Buy Repeat After Me by Rachel DeWoskin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Repeat After Me by Rachel DeWoskin at

Buy Repeat After Me by Rachel DeWoskin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Repeat After Me by Rachel DeWoskin at


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