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Waxwings by Jonathan Raban
In Waxwings, Tom Janeway is a Hungarian who grew up in England and now teaches creative writing at a Seattle university in 1999. He's so self-obsessed and living in his own world that he doesn't see his wife's disenchantment, his son's boredom with him, or even notice the abduction of a girl while on a walk one day. Jin Peng, also known as Chick, is an illegal Chinese immigrant trying to make his way, legally or illegally, in the United States. While Tom's life begins to spiral out of control when he's a suspect in the girl's abduction, Chick moves into Tom's house in pursuit of the American dream. Set at the turn of the century with WTO riots and the dot-com crash heralding a new order to come, Jonathan Raban's Waxwings is the story of two exiles living in their promised land, one buried in the past, one longing for a future. Waxwings has received many glowing reviews and was a long list nominee for the 2003 Man Booker Prize. The Spectator says, "I began to read Waxwings during a long wait at Heathrow. By the time my twice-delayed flight was called I was so absorbed in this humane, beautifully written novel that I actually had a pang of regret at temporarily having to shut the book."
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