This book was very interesting. Especially if you like reading about other cultures. It takes place from 1960s through 1990s China. It is the story of Lin. He is a doctor and lives in the city, away from his wife and daughter who are in the rural countryside. His wife was chosen for him by his parents who needed someone to take care of them in their ailing states. Lin and his wife never really lived together, sharing a home only during brief holidays. Lin is embarrased by his rural wife and starts a romantic, non-physical relationship with a nurse at his hospital. Yearly, he returns to the country-side to ask his wife for a divorce which is not granted for 19 years.
The book portrays life in China which is quite different than life in the US during the same time period. It brings up topics for discussion as to the nature of love, marriage, home, friendship, duty and the power of anticipation. What is worth waiting for? At what point should you give up waiting and make a life out of what you have? What is love? Is the love you want as a young person the same as the love you want as an older person? Can you grow to love someone? I found the book interesting and thought provoking.