To All Appearances a Lady is Marilyn Bowering’s haunting, evocative debut novel and one of her most loved and memorable works.
As Robert Lam sets off on his voyage up the coast of Vancouver Island, the last passenger he expects is a ghost. But when the spirit of Lam Fam—the woman who raised him—suddenly and mysteriously appears, the trip they embark on initiates a quest for the truth about a past both have been avoiding for too many years.
Together Robert and Lam Fam relive a harrowing story that begins in nineteenth-century China and takes them on a journey through the South China Sea, across the Pacific to the shores of British Columbia and the dangerous, secretive labyrinth of the B.C. opium trade. There follows a rich and compelling tale of love and deception, greed and drugs—all set against a background of fascinating historical detail and the clash of transplanted cultures.
MARILYN BOWERING’s first novel, To All Appearances a Lady, was a New York Times Notable Book. Her second novel, Visible Worlds, was shortlisted for the prestigious Orange Prize, nominated for the Dublin IMPAC Prize, and awarded the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Visible Worlds was praised by The Independent as “a tour de force… A wonderful piece of storytelling” and by The New York Times Book Review as “a vast, sprawling feast of a book.” Her most recent novel What it Takes to Be Human was praised by The Globe and Mail as “a great novel… [Bowering] does not seek moments to be brilliant: those moments just arrive.” Marilyn Bowering also works as a poet and librettist. Her opera, Marilyn Forever, with the composer Gavin Bryars, has been performed in Canada, the USA, Australia and in Europe. She lives on Vancouver Island.