The Coffin Tree
Wendy Law-Yone opens her first novel with the phrase of a survivor, "Living things prefer to go on living." A young woman and her older half-brother are expelled from their home in Burma by a savage political coup. Sent to elusive safety in America, the motherless siblings find themselves engulfed by the indifference, hypocrisy, and cruelty of an American society unable to deal with difference. Her brother's death drives the unnamed narrator into the seclusion of a mental hospital, where memories of her childhood and the strength it ingrained in her are enough to heal her heart and return her to the outside world.
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