Three Souls: A Novel (Paperback)
An absorbing novel of romance and revolution, loyalty and family, sacrifice and undying love
We have three souls, or so I'd been told. But only in death could I confirm this....
So begins the haunting and captivating tale, set in 1935 China, of the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin, who watches her own funeral from above and wonders why she is being denied entry to the afterlife. Beside her are three souls—stern and scholarly yang; impulsive, romantic yin; and wise, shining hun—who will guide her toward understanding. She must, they tell her, make amends.
As Leiyin delves back in time with the three souls to review her life, she sees the spoiled and privileged teenager she once was, a girl who is concerned with her own desires while China is fractured by civil war and social upheaval. At a party, she meets Hanchin, a captivating left-wing poet and translator, and instantly falls in love with him.
When Leiyin defies her father to pursue Hanchin, she learns the harsh truth—that she is powerless over her fate. Her punishment for disobedience leads to exile, an unwanted marriage, a pregnancy, and, ultimately, her death. And when she discovers what she must do to be released from limbo into the afterlife, Leiyin realizes that the time for making amends is shorter than she thought.
Suffused with history and literature, Three Souls is an epic tale of revenge and betrayal, forbidden love, and the price we are willing to pay for freedom.
Born in Taiwan, Janie Chang has lived in the Philippines, Iran, Thailand, New Zealand, and Canada. She writes historical fiction, often drawing from family history and ancestral stories. She has a degree in computer science and is a graduate of the Writer’s Studio Program at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of Three Souls, Dragon Springs Road, and The Library of Legends.
“Compelling and utterly original. Janie Chang’s riveting debut gives us so much: a complex heroine, a window into the vanished world of pre-Communist China, a fascinating plot and language that sings. An intoxicating story of family, ambition and the risks we take for love.” — NYT Bestselling Author Tara Conklin, author of THE HOUSE GIRL on THREE SOULS
“A triumph. There is so much magic here, such generous imagining. The prose sings while the story is told in surging crescendo that makes us race to know what happens.” — Beverly Swerling, author of City of Dreams and Bristol House on THREE SOULS
“A tour de force. Evocative of Lisa See at her best, Three Souls vividly conjures life in pre-Mao China, and runs the emotional gamut from playful to haunting. This original story and its sympathetic heroine will stay with you long after the final pages.” — Daniel Kalla, author of The Far Side of the Sky and Rising Sun, Falling Shadow on THREE SOULS
“A glorious, deeply readable novel-the kind you pick up and read voraciously, every chance you get. The kind you get lost in.” — Shaena Lambert, author of Radiance and Oh, My Darling on THREE SOULS
“In this highly original, capriciously imagined tale, Song Leiyin journeys to the afterlife in the company of three guiding souls. As her life in tumultuous 1920s China is recounted, readers are treated to a deft examination of the woe and splendour of family and the human heart.” — NYT Bestselling Author Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls and The Day the Falls Stood Still on THREE SOULS
“I absolutely couldn’t put it down. . . . One of the most satisfying, enjoyable and interesting books I’ve read in a while.” — Nancy Richler, author of The Imposter Bride on THREE SOULS
[ Three Souls bristles with freshness and heart. — Publishers Weekly on THREE SOULS
“Both heartbreaking and hopeful, Janie Chang’s first novel is an immersive and enjoyable read.” — Booklist on THREE SOULS
“A remarkable, exquisite work of historical fiction, Three Souls is highly recommended as a wonderful read and an experience of creative, brilliant writing.” — Historical Novel Society on THREE SOULS
[D]elightful. Chang skillfully weaves China’s story with the fate of her characters, giving the novel a tone of importance that never becomes dull or pedantic.” — Providence Journal on THREE SOULS
“Chang’s heroine is crafty and that’s the biggest strength of this book: we want Leiyin to succeed in her various quests (both in life and in death) because we know so many cards are already stacked against her.” — Asian American Literarature Fans on THREE SOULS