A couple of months ago, I joined an online book club. When the time to choose our first book came, I thought I’d have a hard time, until I spotted on the list a book called The Incarnations. Could it be, I asked myself, that it was what I thought it was? Spoiler alert: it was. I’m sure I’m right to believe we all have these little things that will pull us towards a book no matter what, and reincarnation is one of my things (somewhere in the list you can also find bisexual ladies and spaceships).
Who are you? you must be wondering. I am your soulmate, your old friend, and I have come back to this city of sixteen million in search of you.
Susan Barker tells in The Incarnations the story of two souls chasing each other through Chinese history. As a reader you will meet Wang, a married-with-a-daughter taxi driver in present day Beijing who starts receiving letters from an unknown source. The letters will talk him through the adventures, despair, love and betrayal of his (their) past lives, from his first incarnation during Tang Dinasty to their roles in the Cultural Revolution, stopping along the way in the times of the Mongol Invasion or the Opium War. As you read these letters with him, you will also be allowed glimpses of Wang’s past and his loved ones’, their secrets, their lies, how their lives are connected and how they came to become the people you meet in the book. Before I dig any deeper, let me say that it’s quite an intriguing ride.