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Half-Asian, half-English teenager Grace (but she’d prefer it if you called her “Gray” instead) is not a perfect little supermom-in-the-making like her older sister Jessica, and would rather become a marine biologist than a mother—although she does understand how to take care of her special-needs kid brother Squid better than anyone else in her family. When her mother Belinda abruptly runs out on her family and flies across the Atlantic in order to study crop circles in the English countryside, Grace is left alone to puzzle out her life, the world, and her unique place within it.
With a warmth and a boisterous sense of humour reminiscent of Miriam Toews’ A Complicated Kindness and Peter Hedges’ What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? author Corinna Chong introduces us to two lovable and thoroughly original female characters: persnickety, precocious Grace, and her impractical, impulsive mother Belinda—very different women who nevertheless persistently circle back into each other’s hearts.
"Ostensibly, it’s about a mother, father, and three children. But the novel is also about the power of imagination, and the fictions we maintain about ourselves, in order to keep on being the people we are." full review
"It’s a novel about family members who, despite some wildly different frames of reference, keep searching for common ground." full review
"[b]rims with quirkiness and intrigue." full review
"For a relatively short novel, Chong doesn’t waste any words. Every scene is meaningful." full review
"Chong's talent is undeniable ... her future in CanLit is assured."
"Belinda’s Rings’ elaborate web of interconnected images and themes make it overall a terrific and evocative read." full review
"The novel is an exploration of motherhood, what it means to mother and who is a mother. The book is also a story about bonds and what bonds people together to family and friends." full review
"One does not expect to find such an exquisite lyric voice in such a plot and setting (and a first novel), but just about every word in this book sings." full review
"[t]he product of a talented writer with an exceptional knack for crafting characters ... her detail-rich, specific diction is evocative, stylistically distinct and authenticates everything about these characters’ worlds."
"[a] story that percolates with humour and kindness."
"[a]s vibrant as it is original." full review
"Original and quirky. Corinna Chong has created something special with this book." full review
"This is a story rich in characterization, told in entertaining and realistic dialogue, and with which the reader can identify in many instances. It is a mother-daughter journey during which the daughter comes of age and gains wisdom and a recognition of her bond with her mother whose search for a route to the surface is often confusing for her children as well as for herself." full review
"A novel subtly charged with emotion, Belinda's Rings is unmistakably a noteworthy read."
"Especially intriguing because of the ways [it plays] with and against the formal and thematic expectations of coming-of-age tales."