From the Publisher
A water buffalo wanders onto the landing field of the Taipei airport just as an airplane lands.Two of the survivors of the crash, a Chinese-born professor of Chinese Literature and an American graduate student going to Taiwan to do ethnographic fieldwork, become friends during their stay in the hospital. After their release the friendship continues and in time enlarges to include similarly lonely people, such as the Fongs--a brother and sister who as children saw their parents executed on the streets of Shanghai; Professor Li's nephew and his adopted sister who were destined by Taiwanese tradition to be married; Chen Chieh, a superb cook who holds this unusual family together with her amazing food and has her own secrets; and a few others. Their time together on Taiwan has its share of joys and tragedies that draw the group even closer together in what they call their family. When members of that family marry, they all go to California to celebrate the happy event just in time for a major earthquake that devastates the small city of Santa Rosa and draws the two Fongs, both doctors, into the emergency immediately following the wedding.