Confucius Says

By Veronica Li

General fiction | Paperback, eBook


Confucius Says is a novel on caring for aging parents in a Chinese American family. Cary, a middle-aged Chinese American, was brought up to believe that children should shed blood for their parents. Confucius says so: filial piety is a sacred duty that requires extreme sacrifice on the part of the young. Thus when Cary’s parents become too feeble to live on their own, she doesn’t hesitate to take them in. With the blessing of her Caucasian husband, Steve, she dives into caregiving with enthusiasm. But the more Cary tries to please her parents, the crabbier they become. Baba fights with Mami, and Cary with both; sibling rivalry fuels the fire, and Steve is fed up. A string of crises forces Cary to confront the source of her troubles: Confucius. She reads the Book on Filial Piety to see what exactly Confucius says about the subject. To her surprise, she finds his sayings are quite the opposite of what she’s been taught to believe. Liberated from her misconceptions, Cary rediscovers filial piety as a universal formula for a functional, loving modern family.


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Confucius Says is a novel on caring for aging parents in a Chinese American family. Cary, a middle-aged Chinese American, was brought up to believe that children should shed blood for their parents. Confucius says so: filial piety is a sacred duty that requires extreme sacrifice on the part of the young. Thus when Cary’s parents become too feeble to live on their own, she doesn’t hesitate to take them in. With the blessing of her Caucasian husband, Steve, she dives into caregiving with enthusiasm. But the more Cary tries to please her parents, the crabbier they become. Baba fights with Mami, and Cary with both; sibling rivalry fuels the fire, and Steve is fed up. A string of crises forces Cary to confront the source of her troubles: Confucius. She reads the Book on Filial Piety t...


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Veronica Li is the author of three books. Her first novel, Nightfall in Mogadishu, is a thriller set in Somalia, where she'd worked as an aid worker for the World Bank. Her second book, Journey across the Four Seas: A Chinese Woman’s Search for Home, is a true story of her mother’s life. Her third book, Confucius says, is a novel on caring for aging parents in a Chinese American family. Li spent most of her childhood in Hong Kong during its British colonial days and immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager. She received her B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University. She was a journalist and later a loan officer of the World Bank.


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Veronica Li is the author of three books. Her first novel, Nightfall in Mogadishu, is a thriller set in Somalia, where she'd worked as an aid worker for the World Bank. Her second book, Journey across the Four Seas: A Chinese Woman’s Search for Home, is a true story of her mother’s life. Her third book, Confucius says, is a novel on caring for aging parents in a Chinese American family. Li s...


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