The love story between a Chinese girl and an American journalist is the vehicle for describing life in China over the 20 years that culminated in the events in Tiananmen Square. I found the present tense annoying but there is no denying the genuine feeling (autobiographical?) pervading the book - and the end is surprisingly upbeat.
'He's a foreigner; he has money. Freedom and everything else. He's a winner. What's the point of arguing with him? If he could have taken the baby to the United States, it would have been good for her. How can I explain to him the way I grew up and how difficult it is to bring up a child here?'