Monday, October 29, 2012

Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin

Rendi is hiding in a merchant's cart after running away from home when he is discovered and left behind in the Village of Clear Sky.  Working as a chore boy at the local inn he observes many things:  the inn owner and his neighbor are feuding; the owner's son is missing; a mysterious woman who seems to know more than she says has arrived at the inn; the moon is gone from the sky; and each night Rendi can hear moaning and groaning that no one else seems to notice.  Madame Chang tells everyone stories each night but after a few of them she insists that Rendi tell a story as well.  Slowly, Rendi's own story of life with his overbearing father comes out.  Like her first book, Lin interweaves a narrative and Asian folktales.  The folktales help to move the story forward and everything is tied together in the end.  A magical story.