Kathryn Ma is impressive. She was an attorney for most of her adult life, and in her mid 50’s, she wrote her first novel, The Year She Left Us. It is mainly the story of Ari, an abandoned Chinese orphan, adopted at a young age by Charlie Kong, a single woman. Ari’s childhood and teenage years and her feeling of incompleteness are the focal point of the novel. However, Ma gives us insight into her adoptive family through chapters devoted to her mother, aunt and grandmother. Ari is a complex character-irritating, self-centered and abusive, yet often endearing and kind.
This would be an interesting read for book groups. There are many issues and themes within the novel.