Drama, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

The Incarnations by Susan Barker

I borrowed this novel on a whim. I have a bunch of books to read but I decided not to read them and to stick with this one instead. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea. I sat down and just went at it for a whole day. All I’m thinking now is how much it would cost me to buy this book because it was just that amazing.

When Wang Ju, a Beijing taxi driver, receives an anonymous letter from someone claiming to be his soulmate in past lives, he dismisses it as the ramblings of a crazy person. After all, he is content with his wife and child. But when the letters continue to come and he realizes that this person knows every intricate detail of his life, Wang Ju becomes worried; he knows he can’t ignore the contents of the letters anymore. Each letter contains a story about Wang’s previous life – from becoming a eunuch to leading a life as a concubine. And as each story leads closer and closer to this life, Wang begins to wonder who this mysterious soulmate might be… and what this person wants from him.

One of the best things about this novel is its poignancy and attention to detail. Every journey through a past life brings different emotions and reflects a different time period in China. In each reincarnation, the character of Wang and his mysterious soulmate are transformed; and yet, they still maintain a constancy that keeps them linked. The history of every era is magnificent and I felt like I was truly living during that time. There is a great deal of homosexuality that is depicted in this novel; I have no qualms but I know that some readers may not be as comfortable (so take this as your warning). That being said, I don’t want the sexual aspects of this novel to be a deterrent of any sort. This novel truly is a work of art and deserves to be recognized as such.

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