.
Wall Street, cyber security, high-stakes business deals, political corruption – usually at the forefront of a political thriller, these elements instead serve as the background to a tale of human connection and love in Jennifer Sun’s debut novel, Two Tales of the Moon. 9781491777695_COVER.indd Set right after the 2008 Financial Crisis, Two Tales of the Moon follows Lu Li, a successful and principled Wall Street investment banker whose troubled past in communist China returns to haunt her after her firm takes on two large Chinese companies as their clients. Meanwhile Will Donovan, CEO and founder of a prospering cyber technology firm, wrestles with whether to keep his company autonomous or accept a lucrative deal and merge with a much larger technology corporation. Soon, both characters find themselves in the middle of a potential business partnership with China’s biggest telecommunication company, Great China Telecom. As Will and Lu’s paths continue to cross each other from Washington D.C to New York and all the way to Shanghai, their complicated feelings for each other take stage as each struggles with their past, their current predicament with Great China Telecom, and their potential future together. The high-stakes business deals soon give way to a love story that shows how two career-driven people can find solace in each other, even amidst the chaos of IPOs and joint ventures. It is this element of human connection that softens the otherwise tense tale of potential business relations between the US and Great China Telecom. With US-Sino relations becoming ever more prevalent and convoluted, Two Tales of the Moon comes at a perfect time to shed light on some of the risks and benefits of increasing involvement between the US and China. On a macro level, Jennifer Sun’s novel demonstrates just how complicated business deals can be between China and America – especially when it comes to cyber security technology, in Will Donovan’s case. With China’s communist government discretely taking a part in most of their large businesses, merging US cyber security technology with a Chinese telecom hardware company would be a political disaster waiting to happen. At the micro level, however, Sun demonstrates how the US and China can connect on a human level through her characters Will and Lu. Born on opposite sides of the world under vastly different circumstances – Will raised in an archetypical middle-class American family, Lu raised with a father in an internment camp, an absent mother, and a communist regime suppressing all aspects of her life – the two manage to find each other and fall in love against all odds. Likewise, the political differences between America and China should not deter the two countries from connecting with each other on a cultural and purely human level. However, Jennifer Sun paints a bleak picture of modern day China. Wanting to “shine a light on the effect of communism on China in the past, as well as the still-Red China’s super-power ambition in today’s increasingly globalized world,” she stylizes Shanghai as a pollution-ridden mega city, built on corrupt businesses and large, lavish buildings unrepresentative of China’s low-income population. The characters that live there, such as Lu’s mother and her brother-in-law, are portrayed as cold, condescending, and money-obsessed. The scenery, characters, and dialogue all aid in her portrayal of a corrupt economic and political landscape. [caption id="attachment_6894" align="alignnone" width="300"]Jennifer Sun, author of "Two Tales of the Moon" Jennifer Sun, author of Two Tales of the Moon[/caption] Besides the harsh portrayal of China, the novel itself is steady-paced and tastefully written, with Jennifer Sun’s keen eye for fashion, food, and martinis painting a vivid backdrop for the characters to rest on. The characters of Will and Lu are strong, calm, and introspective – traits that aid them in their respective careers. With a lot of attention to detail, Sun weaves their story through flashbacks, introspection, and deep dialogue, often glancing over major plot points and instead zooming in on the smaller moments to drive home the human quality of the novel. This has the effect of making the reader feel as if they have been set down in the middle of a story, with a tangible sense of realness preceding the novel and continuing on after the last page. Overall, Jennifer Sun’s background in finance, technology, and Chinese culture serves as an intriguing backdrop on which to paint a surprisingly genuine love story. The juxtaposition between chaotic Wall Street and subtle human connection, crazy business deals and meditative reflection, and US-Chinese relations and Will and Lu’s love story emphasizes the human nature of the novel. Understated and elegant, Two Tales of the Moon is a great read for anyone with interests in business, international politics, and especially love.

About
Winona Roylance
:
Winona Roylance is Diplomatic Courier's Managing Editor and Special Series Editor.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

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Two Tales of the Moon by Jennifer Sun

Halloween background. Spooky forest with full moon and dead trees||Jennifer Sun, author of "Two Tales of the Moon"
March 17, 2016

Wall Street, cyber security, high-stakes business deals, political corruption – usually at the forefront of a political thriller, these elements instead serve as the background to a tale of human connection and love in Jennifer Sun’s debut novel, Two Tales of the Moon. 9781491777695_COVER.indd Set right after the 2008 Financial Crisis, Two Tales of the Moon follows Lu Li, a successful and principled Wall Street investment banker whose troubled past in communist China returns to haunt her after her firm takes on two large Chinese companies as their clients. Meanwhile Will Donovan, CEO and founder of a prospering cyber technology firm, wrestles with whether to keep his company autonomous or accept a lucrative deal and merge with a much larger technology corporation. Soon, both characters find themselves in the middle of a potential business partnership with China’s biggest telecommunication company, Great China Telecom. As Will and Lu’s paths continue to cross each other from Washington D.C to New York and all the way to Shanghai, their complicated feelings for each other take stage as each struggles with their past, their current predicament with Great China Telecom, and their potential future together. The high-stakes business deals soon give way to a love story that shows how two career-driven people can find solace in each other, even amidst the chaos of IPOs and joint ventures. It is this element of human connection that softens the otherwise tense tale of potential business relations between the US and Great China Telecom. With US-Sino relations becoming ever more prevalent and convoluted, Two Tales of the Moon comes at a perfect time to shed light on some of the risks and benefits of increasing involvement between the US and China. On a macro level, Jennifer Sun’s novel demonstrates just how complicated business deals can be between China and America – especially when it comes to cyber security technology, in Will Donovan’s case. With China’s communist government discretely taking a part in most of their large businesses, merging US cyber security technology with a Chinese telecom hardware company would be a political disaster waiting to happen. At the micro level, however, Sun demonstrates how the US and China can connect on a human level through her characters Will and Lu. Born on opposite sides of the world under vastly different circumstances – Will raised in an archetypical middle-class American family, Lu raised with a father in an internment camp, an absent mother, and a communist regime suppressing all aspects of her life – the two manage to find each other and fall in love against all odds. Likewise, the political differences between America and China should not deter the two countries from connecting with each other on a cultural and purely human level. However, Jennifer Sun paints a bleak picture of modern day China. Wanting to “shine a light on the effect of communism on China in the past, as well as the still-Red China’s super-power ambition in today’s increasingly globalized world,” she stylizes Shanghai as a pollution-ridden mega city, built on corrupt businesses and large, lavish buildings unrepresentative of China’s low-income population. The characters that live there, such as Lu’s mother and her brother-in-law, are portrayed as cold, condescending, and money-obsessed. The scenery, characters, and dialogue all aid in her portrayal of a corrupt economic and political landscape. [caption id="attachment_6894" align="alignnone" width="300"]Jennifer Sun, author of "Two Tales of the Moon" Jennifer Sun, author of Two Tales of the Moon[/caption] Besides the harsh portrayal of China, the novel itself is steady-paced and tastefully written, with Jennifer Sun’s keen eye for fashion, food, and martinis painting a vivid backdrop for the characters to rest on. The characters of Will and Lu are strong, calm, and introspective – traits that aid them in their respective careers. With a lot of attention to detail, Sun weaves their story through flashbacks, introspection, and deep dialogue, often glancing over major plot points and instead zooming in on the smaller moments to drive home the human quality of the novel. This has the effect of making the reader feel as if they have been set down in the middle of a story, with a tangible sense of realness preceding the novel and continuing on after the last page. Overall, Jennifer Sun’s background in finance, technology, and Chinese culture serves as an intriguing backdrop on which to paint a surprisingly genuine love story. The juxtaposition between chaotic Wall Street and subtle human connection, crazy business deals and meditative reflection, and US-Chinese relations and Will and Lu’s love story emphasizes the human nature of the novel. Understated and elegant, Two Tales of the Moon is a great read for anyone with interests in business, international politics, and especially love.

About
Winona Roylance
:
Winona Roylance is Diplomatic Courier's Managing Editor and Special Series Editor.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.