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River of Dust by Virginia Pye

River of Dust by Virginia Pye

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Published by UnbridledBooks
Virginia Pye takes readers behind-the-scenes for a look at what inspired her debut novel—now available wherever books are sold.

“Terrific, tremendous, wonderful…a strong, beautiful, deep book.” – Annie Dillard

“Virginia Pye’s River of Dust is a remarkable novel in the ways that delight me the most: It has a compelling narrative voice, a dynamic story and a deep resonance into the universal human condition, all of which is inextricably bound together. This is a major work by a splendid writer.” –Robert Olen Butler

“A vividly imagined and beautifully drawn picture of the life of Christian missionaries in China in the early 20th century.”—- Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China; co-author, Mao: the Unknown Story
Virginia Pye takes readers behind-the-scenes for a look at what inspired her debut novel—now available wherever books are sold.

“Terrific, tremendous, wonderful…a strong, beautiful, deep book.” – Annie Dillard

“Virginia Pye’s River of Dust is a remarkable novel in the ways that delight me the most: It has a compelling narrative voice, a dynamic story and a deep resonance into the universal human condition, all of which is inextricably bound together. This is a major work by a splendid writer.” –Robert Olen Butler

“A vividly imagined and beautifully drawn picture of the life of Christian missionaries in China in the early 20th century.”—- Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China; co-author, Mao: the Unknown Story

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Publish date: May 14, 2013
Added to Scribd: May 15, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/21/2013

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We recently caught up with Virginia Pye, author of
River of Dust 
, and asked her toshare with our readers the inspiration behind her debut novel, which Robert OlenButler called “remarkable in the ways that delight me the most….”
I come from a family of readers. My missionary grandfather, the Reverend Watts O. Pye,read Romantic poetry, Shakespeare, religious commentaries of his time, and the Bible, ashe rode on mule-back through the rugged northwestern plains of China. My politicalscientist father, Lucian W. Pye, who was born and raised in China, reclined in a black EZBoy in our home outside of Boston and read a minimum of five newspapers everymorning, stacks of foreign policy books splayed open on the coffee table, and endlessacademic journals that he dog-eared and annotated--all while the Celtics or Red Sox played on the TV screen. In Richmond, Virginia, I carry a novel tucked into my purse atall times and keep another in the back seat of my car, and more littered about the house. Iread at stop lights, while waiting in restaurants and doctor’s offices, and in any not-so-quiet moment. From the Pye side of my family, I learned concentration and how to readanywhere.
 
 I also come from a family of writers. Reverend Pye wrote voluminous journals about hiseveryday experiences among the rural Chinese in Shanxi Province. He penned histhoughts at least daily, sometimes while still in the saddle, or in other difficult settingssuch as this one: “I am writing outdoors here, while the last of day is stealing over the rimof the world into the mysterious realm of the yesterdays. A crowd of thirty watchers is pressed about me as I write, discussing the typewriter, the mysteries of foreign letter, myfilled tooth, and what it can ever be that makes me “white” instead of brown or yellow.”With Chinese banter taking place on all sides, he penned his English prose. He was both afull participant in that place and moment, and very much an outsider commenting on it.My father wrote more than twenty books in our family room—a place where we atesupper, watched TV, did sewing projects and homework. When he was really trying toconcentrate, he took his yellow legal pad and moved into the nearby dining room tospread out on the table, but he always kept the door open. He said he liked havingeveryone around. He liked hearing our voices.I have written fiction in nearly every stage of my life. As a young woman, I shared astudy with my new husband in our small New York apartment, where we wrote side byside. As a mother with young children, I wrote poems in the middle of the night whilesitting up in bed and nursing our daughter. At the playground, I balanced my journal onmy knee as I pushed my son in the swings. When they went to school, I edited my novelson a laptop in the driver’s seat while waiting in car pool lines.These days people multitask routinely, so what’s the big deal about reading and writingwhile doing other things? Nothing, except that for me it is an indication of the way myfamily likes to straddle different worlds simultaneously, and mostly through language.Reading and writing while living in the moment seems ill advised—they say you can’t doeither very well if you don’t do them exclusively—but that’s how we’ve always done it.Preferring to be in two worlds at once seems a logical outcome of having been Americansin China for decades. And, although I have always lived in America and never traveled to

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