Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Books and Laundry: Ghost Forest

Ghost Forest
by Pik-Shuen Fung
Contemporary, Chinese Canadian | Published: 2021 | Goodreads | my rating: 4
vignettes of the feels, poetic

How do you grieve, if your family doesn't talk about feelings?

This is the question the unnamed protagonist of Ghost Forest considers after her father dies. One of the many Hong Kong "astronaut" fathers, he stays there to work, while the rest of the family immigrated to Canada before the 1997 Handover, when the British returned sovereignty over Hong Kong to China.

As she revisits memories of her father through the years, she struggles with unresolved questions and misunderstandings. Turning to her mother and grandmother for answers, she discovers her own life refracted brightly in theirs.

Buoyant, heartbreaking, and unexpectedly funny, Ghost Forest is a slim novel that envelops the reader in joy and sorrow. Fung writes with a poetic and haunting voice, layering detail and abstraction, weaving memory and oral history to paint a moving portrait of a Chinese-Canadian astronaut family.

First sentence(s):
Twenty-one days after my dad died, a bird perched on the railing of my balcony. It was brown. It stayed there for a long time.

Hi Dad. I said. Thanks for checking up on me.


  1. That first set of sentences really strikes a tone and I'm curious about the family situation now. Hope the laundry chore went well with this book to occupy you.

  2. This sounds like a wonderful book, both the setting and the premise. I like reading about the experience of immigrant families and I am obsessed with the astronaut world, although I guess there isn't too much of that in this story.


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