Book Review: Three Souls

Three Souls.jpg

Title:  Three Souls

Author: Janie Chang

Pages: 439 pages

Plot: 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.
Favorite Quote: “We can’t control other’s fates; we can barely manage our own. But we can hope for tomorrow. Tomorrow we can hope for rebirth.”

Reviewing your life with your three souls post death and making amends! Wow, that sounds like a very interesting plot. ‘Three Souls’ outlines the life and after life of our protagonist Leiyin. Leiyin is from a wealthy, traditional, renowned family.  She has a fertile mind, an inclination towards teaching, reading and art. She wants to become a teacher and help educate the poor for a better future of China. But destiny had other things planned for her.

The plot is based when communism was taking roots in China. The struggles of Leinyin and other families while the civil war goes on, becomes an integral part of the story. But the story has much more to offer than just the civil war. It is about a failed teenage romance that comes back in Leinyin’s life after many decades, it’s about betrayals and forbidden love, it’s about revolution in mindset, it’s about family values, it’s about making amends, it’s about making peace with the past. The book has much more to offer than what you can expect.

My favorite parts in the book are those where Leiyin has conversations with the yin, yang and hun souls. Each soul has a different opinion and a peculiar character. It is a metaphor for how our minds usually contemplate. The storyline is very strong; the characterization in particular is impeccable. The book is surely under rated and it deserves more credit.

Ratings: 4.5/5


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