The Distant Land of My Father

by Bo Caldwell

Anna grows up in a storybook world--exotic Shanghai in the 1930s, with handsome young parents, wealth, and comfort. Her father is the son of missionaries, a smuggler and a millionaire, who leads a charmed and secretive life. His greatest joy is sharing the city he loves with his daughter. With the Japanese occupation and the start of the Second World War, his fortunes change drastically. When his family flees to California, he chooses to remain in Shanghai, believing his connections and luck will keep him safe. He's wrong. He survives, only to again choose Shanghai over his family when the communists take over.
Making a new home with her mother in Los Angeles, Anna comes to realize that the father she adores is never going to join them. But in the early 1950s, when she has a family of her own, he suddenly reappears. The Distant Land of My Father is a moving and unforgettable story of betrayal and reconciliation, and of the ways those we love can change and surprise us.

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780156027137
  • ISBN-10: 0156027135
  • Pages: 400
  • Publication Date: 09/09/2002
  • Carton Quantity: 44

About the book

Anna, the narrator of this riveting novel, lives in a storybook world: exotic pre-World War II Shanghai, with handsome young parents, wealth, and comfort. Her father, the son of missionaries, leads a charmed and secretive life, though his greatest joy is sharing his beloved city with his only daughter. Yet when Anna and her mother flee Japanese-occupied Shanghai to return to California, he stays behind, believing his connections and a little bit of luck will keep him safe. 


Through Anna's memories and her father's journals we learn of his fall from charismatic millionaire to tortured prisoner, in a story of betrayal and reconciliation that spans two continents. The Distant Land of My Father, a breathtaking and richly lyrical debut, unfolds to reveal an enduring family love through tragic circumstances. 


National Bestseller

About the author
Bo Caldwell

Bo Caldwell has published short stories in numerous literary magazines. Her nonfiction writing includes a long-running series of personal essays in the Washington Post Magazine. She is a former Stegner Fellow in creative writing at Stanford University, and now lives in Northern California with her husband, novelist Ron Hansen, and her two children.



"A marvelous story, straightforward without being prosaic, full of momentum yet complex and unpredictable."--Los Angeles Times

"For everyone who has ever felt himself in exile from any beloved place, or a time that can never return."--Carolyn See, The Washington Post Book World

"Remarkable . . . A moving tale of love and the possibility of forgiveness."--Library Journal