Conklin, Lindsey Ann
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The first section of this unfinished novel, titled Silk Butterflies is a diptych about a woman named Sarah, and her desire to acquire ancestral truth regarding her identity to negate the pain she feels from losing her unborn child. Her story, told in a guarded, first person point-of-view is paralleled with Ling’s story, an unconventional, ninety-two year old Shanghainese woman who, against her desires, had her feet bound in China during the early 1920’s. Ling’s story is also told from a lyrical first-person perspective that focuses especially on sensory details, and delves into the sacrifices we make to attain standards of beauty, and the loss Ling has never recovered from. As this historical fiction progresses, their stories overlap in an unexpected way, as both Sarah and Ling attempt to revitalize forgotten histories, including how Sarah’s grandparents fled to Shanghai in the 1930’s to escape Nazi persecution during World War II.