Dreams of the Red Phoenix
by Virginia Pye
October 13, 2015
During the dangerous summer of 1937, a newly widowed American missionary finds herself and her teenage son caught up in the midst of a Japanese invasion of North China and the simultaneous rise of Communism. Meanwhile a charismatic Red Army officer requests her help and seems to have shared some surprising secret about her husband. Shirley must manage her grief even as she navigates between her desire to help the idealistic Chinese Reds fight the Japanese by serving as a nurse and the need to save both herself and her son by escaping the war-ravaged country before it’s too late.
Taking her own grandmother's life as inspiration, Virginia Pye, author of the critically-acclaimed debut novel River of Dust, has written a stunning new novel of Americans in China on the cusp of World War II.
Praise for Dreams of the Red Phoenix:
“Gripping, convincing, and heartbreaking, Dreams of the Red Phoenix is powerfully evocative of the complexities of life in 1930's China. A real page-turner and thought-provoker – wonderful.” ~Gish Jen
“There’s a comparison to Ballard’s Empire of the Sun, but this unflinching look at a brutal era in a faraway place shares truth in its own way.” ~KIRKUS REVIEWS
“A tale of idealism and courage, deceit and treachery, Dreams of the Red Phoenix blends religion, family, geopolitics and history into a hearty, heartwarming and heart-rending feast of fact-based fiction, one inspired by Pye’s imagination and rendered with care and love.” ~JAY STAFFORD, The Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Pye is a remarkable writer, and it shows in this harrowing tale of loss and war.” ~BOOK RIOT
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About the Author:
Virginia Pye’s essays can be found in The New York Times Opinionator blog, The Rumpus, Brain, Child, and elsewhere. Her debut novel, River of Dust, was an Indie Next Pick and a Virginia Literary Awards Finalist in Fiction. Carolyn See in The Washington Post called it “intricate and fascinating;” Annie Dillard said it’s “a strong, beautiful, deep book;" Robert Olen Butler named it “a major work by a splendid writer;” and Caroline Leavitt described it as “a gemstone of a novel...a masterpiece.” Virginia has published award-winning short stories in literary magazines, including The North American Review, The Tampa Review, and The Baltimore Review. Her short e-book Her Mother’s Garden was published by SheBooks in January, 2014. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence and has taught writing at New York University and the University of Pennsylvania. Virginia currently divides her time between Richmond and Cambridge, MA.