The Distant Land of My Father Summary & Study Guide

Bo Caldwell
This Study Guide consists of approximately 52 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Distant Land of My Father.
This section contains 484 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The Distant Land of My Father Summary & Study Guide Description

The Distant Land of My Father Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell.

Anna's father had lived as a Shanghai millionaire in the 1930s. They had led the appropriate life style with chauffeurs, polo games, and night clubs. Her mother had died in 1955 and her father dies in 1961 in Los Angeles. While Anna is sorting through his belongings, she finds a letter on a box addressed to her. He explains that he has no estate to leave her, just his journals of his life in Shanghai. He had never talked to her about it but he wants her to know what is in the journals. Anna spends several months reading through the materials, as well as other books on Shanghai. This is The Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell.

Anna is born in Shanghai to wealthy parents who live a storybook life. Although her parents are Americans, her father, Joseph had been born and raised in China since his parents had served as missionaries there . He loves Shanghai and shares that love with his daughter by teaching her about the city. Even though the Schoenes lead a charmed life, Shanghai is a dangerous place and Joseph's wife, Genevieve, does not share his love of Shanghai. She views it as a temporary residence.

The wealthy are the target of kidnappers in Shanghai. It is a very common practice and it happens to Joseph. He is released when the ransom is paid but the kidnappers want him to collaborate with the Japanese. When war begins with the Japanese, they eventually take control of Shanghai. Many foreigners leave, but Joseph refuses. When his wife and daughter leave for California, he says he will follow, but he doesn't. There are too many money making opportunities. He is eventually arrested and imprisoned.

When Joseph is released, he joins his family in California but he isn't happy. He takes a job in Chungking and when the war ends, he returns to Shanghai. He re-establishes himself in business and becomes wealthy again. When his wife and daughter arrive, he sends them back to California after two months. Shanghai is dangerous again because of the civil war between the Nationalist Chinese of Chaing Kai-shek and the Communists of Mao.

After the Communists take over, Joseph again remains in Shanghai and is eventually imprisoned. He is held by the Communists for four years before being released. When he tries to establish himself in Hong Kong, he is expelled. He eventually settles near Santa Barbara, California. By this time, Genevieve's divorce is complete, she is dying of leukemia and Anna is married.

Anna and Joseph meet again at Genevieve's funeral and the long process of reconciliation begins. He eventually becomes a beloved member of her family. After his death, she learns of his life from his journals.

The reader will thoroughly enjoy this book and the journey that the main characters make. The book is fast reading and well worth the reader's time.

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This section contains 484 words
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