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a novel about a family with a child suffering from Werner's Syndrome, or Progeria, where the body ages rapidly
As World War II threatens their comfortable life in Hong Kong, young Joan and Emma Lew escape with their family to spend the war years in Macao. When they return home, Emma develops a deep interest in travel and sets her sights on an artistic life in San Francisco, while Joan turns to movies and thoughts of romance to escape the pressures of her real life. As the girls become women, each follows a path different from what her family expects. But through periods of great happiness and sorrow, the sisters learn that their complicated ties to each other--and to the other members of their close-knit family--are a source of strength as they pursue their separate dreams.
Recovering from tuberculosis, Stephen Chan spends a year (1937-1938) in the remote Japanese village of Tarumi. There he forms a close friendship with Matsu, the caretaker of the cottage where he is living. As Matsu's story unfolds, Stephen's life becomes entwined with the lives of the lepers in the nearby lepers' colony of Yamaguchi. In the background but always looming is the Japanese invasion of China, Stephen's homeland.
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