by Brian Leung; Harper, 2010; 304 pages, $24.99
Take Me Home is a delightful tale about a woman named Adele “Addie” Maine.
It is not often a male author attempts to tell a story through the eyes of a woman, but Brian Leung has done it well.
The setting is a midwestern town called Dire. It is a time of unrest and bigotry. White men find themselves working side by side in the mines with the Chinese, whom they see as nothing more than devious animals. Addie has also adopted the same attitude … for a while. Tommy, Addie’s brother, has a homestead there, and has Addie to join him. Too little to late, they fail at their attempt to save it. Tommy goes to work in the mines, while Addie starts a business of dressing and selling game. Wing Lee, a Chinese cook, works with her. Wing will be the one who shows Addie how wrong the white men and women have been in their prejudices against them. Much like the South, people were bought and sold, until freed at the conclusion of the Civil war. Nothing has changed. Blacks were still kept down, as they work as sharecroppers. It is the same in the mines of Dire. The Chinese would work at a lower rate of pay, and the Chinese dedication forces more and more unemployment for the white man. It is here Mr. Leung spins a piece of non-fiction and merges with his fiction. On September 2, 1885, there was a riot in Rock Spring, Wyo., regarding the same issues. The riot in Roc Springs Mr. Leung recreates in Dire, and Addie finds herself in the middle of the mass murders and vandalism. She too, is shot and almost killed for her trouble. Suddenly, Addie finds herself alone. The saga’s opening is her return at a friend’s request. Her entire trip is steeped with uncertainty and concerns for her own safety. Addie believes she knows who shot her, and wonders if she will be able to locate her friend, Wing. Any truths she may find to get final closure must be done in Dire. There, she will be able to explore the secrets she shares with Wing, and find surprises at the answers. It will take Addie’s maturity to see the truth as her own and her losses.
This is Brian Leung’s second novel. He has already won several awards for his works of fiction, as well as, his contributions to works of non-fiction as a co-author. As for his novel, Take Me Home, questions will be answered, but will Addie’s search for justice be satisfied?
You’ll have to read it to find out.