The Border of Paradise (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Depressive, obsessive, neurotic David Nowak inherits his family's piano manufacturing fortune in high school. He leaves New York for world travel, meets and marries a young woman named Jia-Hui in Taiwan. He renames her Daisy upon their return to the U.S. to build a homestead in the woods of Northern California. There they raise two children, William and Gillian, for years without any influence beyond their own, the books in the house and piano lessons. Wang's fantastically moving writing pulls the reader into a gothic epic of family and identity. Chilling, suspenseful; I promise you've never read anything like it. --Leigh

— From Staff Picks - Leigh


A remarkable multigenerational novel, The Border of Paradise transports readers into the world of an iconoclastic midcentury family.

In booming postwar Brooklyn, the Nowak Piano Company is an American success story. There is just one problem: the Nowak's only son, David. A handsome kid and shy like his mother, David struggles with neuroses. If not for his only friend, Marianne, David's life would be intolerable. When David inherits the piano company at just 18 and Marianne breaks things off, David sells the company and travels around the world. In Taiwan, his life changes when he meets the daughter of a local madame -- beautiful, sharp-tongued Daisy. Returning to the United States, the couple (and newborn son) buy an isolated country house in Northern California's Polk Valley.
As David's mental health deteriorates, he has a brief affair with Marianne, producing a daughter. When Marianne appears at their doorstep, the couple's fateful decision to take the child as their own determines a tragic course of events for the entire family. Told from multiple perspectives, The Border of Paradise culminates in heartrending fashion, as the young heirs to the Nowak fortune must confront their past and the tragic reality of their future.

About the Author

Esme Weijun Wang is an award-winning mental health advocate and speaker, as well as a journalist and essayist. The Border of Paradise is her first novel. She lives in San Francisco.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781939419699
ISBN-10: 1939419697
Publisher: Unnamed Press
Publication Date: April 12th, 2016
Pages: 292
Language: English