This is a very powerful read, about sometimes painful family feelings and relationships. Ruth has to bridge the gap between her comfortable life in modern America and her mother's memories of a very different life in China before the war, in a society both sophisticated and primitive. Bones, ghosts, and Chinese ink writing represent many layers of meaning, which Ruth has to unravel before her ageing and forgetful mother's secrets die with her.
Ruth began to cry. Her grandmother had a name. Gu Liu Xin. She had existed. She still existed. Precious Auntie belonged to a family. LuLing belonged to that same family, and Ruth belonged to them both. The family name had been there all along, like a bone stuck in the crevices of a gorge. LuLing had divined it while looking at an oracle in the museum. And the given name had flashed before her as well for the briefest of moments, a shooting star that entered the earth's atmosphere, etching itself indelibly in Ruth's mind.