China Daily just published my first feature story for the paper, an interview with Kaitlin Solimine about her debut novel Empire of Glass. It was published in the paper and also on the website. Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
At the heart of Kaitlin Solimine’s lyrical debut novel Empire of Glass are relationships she first forged over two decades ago with her Chinese homestay family in Beijing.
“I hadn’t married into this family. Really, there was nothing except the happenstance of having been assigned to them. But we were very, very close,” says Solimine, who spent a high school semester living with them in 1996.
“My family was very American middle class, which meant something very different compared to what was Chinese middle class in the 1990s. Yet I was taken in. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh you’re American, how special you are.’ It was really, ‘Hey, you’re family now.'”
That intimacy deepened after a death in the family.
Just weeks into her first year in college, Solimine received a letter from her host family with a photo of a gravestone bearing the name of its matriarch Liming (her given name).
You can read the full piece here on the website. Or if you’d prefer, you can also read a PDF version of what was published on the paper this morning.
BTW, if you would like to learn more about Empire of Glass, read my interview here last year with Kaitlin Solimine for the blog.