Book Review: What the Zhang Boys Know by Clifford Garstang & Giveaway (US/Canada)

October 24th, 2012

What the Zhang Boys Know by Clifford Garstang was a surprise for me – a nice one!  What the Zhang Boys Know has twelve separate chapters with seemingly separate stories yet they all link together in some way to the residents living in the condo complex called  Nanking Mansion.  The Nanking Mansion is located on the edge of Chinatown in Washington, D.C. and it isn’t the greatest neighborhood but these arsty type residents don’t seem to notice it all too much.  This is a story that to me highlights how life goes on through its various ups and downs and as each day passes, another takes its place.

The book starts off with the Zhang family and they were my favorite and I’m quite sure I would have been happy with a whole book just about them.  Feng-qi, a single dad left with two young boys after his American wife dies in a tragic accident, is left reeling.  Eventually his father comes from China to live with them and care for the boys and along the way even his mother-in-law seems to be opening up some even though she strongly opposed her daughter’s marriage to Feng-qi.  Although Feng-qi has met another woman he still can’t forget his perfect wife and his boys even more so as they are convinced she is coming back.

Then there is a host of others living in the building, among them a painter, a sculptor, and a lawyer.  Another story I really liked was one of an older woman whose husband leaves her and she ends up having to sell her belongings because she can’t get a job.  She even turned to her younger sister for help even though she knew it would be thrown back at her.  There is the young Susanna who originally moves in with her boyfriend, becomes pregnant, and then kicks him out because she’s moved on with the painter.  The painter is a tormented soul for sure as he’s haunted by a face in a picture that he’s painted.

All of the characters in this novel are flawed, just as all human beings are.  They aren’t perfect; they are just trying to get through their lives the best they can.  I love how all the stories weaved together in some way as for me that is the one thing that really does make a book of short stories work.  I also liked how the Zhang boys, although young and not always understanding the real issues, could still give you a pretty good update on what was going on with everyone in the building.  It just goes to show how much the young ones really do absorb.  This was a good read for me.  I enjoyed the book and the author’s writing style and I look forward to reading more from him.

What the Zhang Boys Know by Clifford Garstang is touring with TLC Book Tours so be sure to check out the other tour stops!  You can connect with Clifford on his website and a copy of What the Zhang Boys Know can be purchased here in the US and here in Canada.



I have one copy of What the Zhang Boys Know by Clifford Garstang to share with my readers.  To enter…

  • For 1 entry leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
  • For 2 entries, follow my blog.  If you do let me know and I’ll pass the extra entry on to you as well.
  • For 3 entries, blog or tweet this giveaway!

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on Saturday, November 10/12.  Good luck!

Source: Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours and the Publisher. No compensation was received for this review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

38 Comments to “Book Review: What the Zhang Boys Know by Clifford Garstang & Giveaway (US/Canada)”

  1. I love flawed characters! This sounds really good. Thanks for the giveaway.

  2. Linda B says:

    Based on the cover I would have passed this by. But your review has caused me to put this book on the wish list. It sounds wonderful. Thanks for the giveaway.

    And I am a follower, through Google Reader.

  3. Anne says:

    Thanks for this great giveaway. Your review captivated me. I subscribe via e-mail.

  4. Sandra K321 says:

    This sounds a bit different; I would enjoy reading it.

  5. Sandra K321 says:

    I subscribe to your blog via Google RSS as Sandra K321

  6. ellie says:

    An interesting book. Wonderful review. I am an e-mail subscriber.

  7. Margie says:

    This book sounds fascinating.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  8. Margie says:

    Blog follower by GFC, email, Facebook

  9. Karen B says:

    This sounds like a great change-of-pace book to read!

  10. Karen B says:

    Follow by email, GFC, FB and Networked blogs.

  11. rhonda says:

    I hadn`t read about this book thanks for giveaway.I am follower will tweet at rhondareads

  12. JJT says:

    This book sounds so interesting. I will tweet – @readsalways. Thank you.

  13. Lisa Garrett says:

    I too love flawed characters. This sounds very interesting.

  14. Lisa Garrett says:

    I follow via gfc and email.

  15. Carol Wong says:

    The boys sound human! I like that you like the writer’s style, sounds good.

  16. Carol Wong says:

    I follow you with GFC.

  17. Jenna Evans says:

    Sounds like a great read- your review is great!
    I follow your blog too.

  18. Carl says:

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway. I’ve been interested in the Zhang Boys ever since I first heard about the book. Pleas enter my name for the chance to win.

    I follow this blog by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

    I also tweeted about the giveaway:

    Thanks again!

  19. Jenners says:

    This does sound good!

  20. Hey babe – How’s your dad doing?

  21. […] the rest of the review and enter the contest to win a copy of the book here. More This entry was posted in blog by Cliff. Bookmark the […]

  22. zibilee says:

    This is a book that I am intensely interested in, after reading a few reviews, coupled with yours. I would love the chance to read this one, so please do enter me Dar, and thanks for the incredible review!


  23. Kitty says:

    Thanks for letting us know about this book. I put it on my TBR and WL.

  24. Kitty says:

    email subscriber, friends/like you on FB and follow on twitter @maynekitty

  25. This sounds interesting and I am so glad you enjoyed it :)

  26. ANN*H says:

    From your review it sounds like a book I would like to read. Thanks

  27. ANN*H says:

    I am a email subscriber
    amhengst at verizon dot net

  28. ANN*H says:

    GFC follower also – amhengst

  29. Staci says:

    I’m always drawn to flawed characters and the fact that the stories intertwine with each other sounds good.

  30. […]  Cold Read Book BlogTuesday, October 23rd:  Reading on a Rainy DayWednesday, October 24th:  Peeking Between the PagesMonday, October 29th:  Entomology of a BookwormTuesday, October 30th:  5 Minutes for […]

  31. Glad you enjoyed this one! Thanks for being on the tour.

  32. Beth C says:

    I’d really like to read this. The characters sound so interesting.

  33. Beth C says:

    I am a follower.

  34. Maureen says:

    It looks like a unique book.

  35. Maureen says:

    I follow on GFC

  36. […] Wednesday, October 24th:  Peeking Between the Pages […]

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