A Single Swallow

Book 28 of 2020 was an Amazon First reads book, A Single Swallow. I chose this book because I thought it could be a Chinese version of Mr. Sunshine. You know, a strong female lead in a wartime historical drama. Three boys who lose their way because of her? No, it definitely wasn’t that.

The writing was good at keeping me interested, wanting to know what comes next, caring about the characters. But I wasn’t invested. It didn’t hold my heart or make me hurt for anyone. There was more writing effort spent on creating a realistic wartime setting with its atrocities and its banal sufferings than there was on interpersonal drama. The ending was rushed.

The story was never told from the main character’s POV. It was filtered through the three men who were interested in her. She was whatever they needed her to be. I’m grateful that she didn’t end up with the much older man who was like her father (that happened in Mr. Sunshine). But I also didn’t understand her motivations. It’s implied that she had a one night stand with one of the men, but it seems out of character and it’s never mentioned or explained. Somehow they just have a child. It also isn’t clear why she ends up living as a couple with a man who treated her like garbage because he believed small town rumors.

Upon examination, the book doesn’t make much sense on a psychological level. But the writing is so good at keeping the reader’s attention in the moment that I never questioned it until after.

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