At the Heart of the Universe
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  • 9781609806415

At the Heart of the Universe

Samuel Shem

The story of two mothers and a father in love with the same daughter, Samuel Shem's At the Heart of the Universe is an epic novel set deep in rural China against the backdrop of an ancient mountain monastery during the time of Mao's one-child population control policies. Inspired by the author's experiences as parent of an adopted child, it describes the drama of adoption and the journey of loss and rebirth that can happen when a daughter brings together her adopted mother and her birth mother high on a mountaintop.

Set in 1991 in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, where a Chinese daughter is given up; then, again in Changsha ten years later, when the same daughter returns with her adopted American parents; then roaming across southern China until, high atop Emei San, one of only four Chinese "sacred mountains" that still has an active Buddhist monastery, something happens that does not reverse—but fundamentally changes—the irrevocable losses that have accumulated in these lives.

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