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Download On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family Audiobook, by Lisa See Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,999 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lisa See Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9780307943927
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In 1867, Lisa See’s great-great-grandfather arrived in America, where he prescribed herbal remedies to immigrant laborers who were treated little better than slaves. His son Fong See later built a mercantile empire and married a Caucasian woman, in spite of laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Lisa herself grew up playing in her family’s antiques store in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, listening to stories of missionaries and prostitutes, movie stars, and Chinese baseball teams.

With these stories and her own years of research, Lisa See chronicles the hundred-year odyssey of her Chinese-American family, a history that encompasses racism, romance, secret marriages, entrepreneurial genius, and much more, as two distinctly different cultures meet in a new world.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Astonishing....A comprehensive and exhaustively researched account of a Chinese-American family...that juggles such explosive elements as race, class, tradition, prejudice, poverty, and great wealth in new and relatively unexpected combinations. The Los Angeles Times
  • “Weaves together fascinating family anecdotes, imaginative details, and the historical details of immigrant life…Enviably entertaining.”

    Amy Tan

  • “Terrific stuff…The See family’s adventures would be incredible if On Gold Mountain were fiction.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Lovingly rendered…A vivid tableau of a family and an era.”

    People

  • “Astonishing…As engagingly readable as any novel…Comprehensive and exhaustively researched.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda Fox | 2/19/2014

    " Amazing true story of a Chinese imigrant's family from late 1800s to present day. This book was heavy on the details and a little difficult to get through, but very fascinating. I learned of the difficulties Chinese immigrants faced in America and the courage it took to succeed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deanna Shelor | 2/19/2014

    " Read this while working on my thesis and fell in love with See's style. Happy to see she continued to write and branched out to historical creative novels. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Francie | 2/13/2014

    " read Lisa See's fiction first, than read this family history "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tammy | 2/11/2014

    " I enjoyed the journey of this Chinese-American family. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janie | 1/28/2014

    " Wonderfully written, vividly descriptive novel about the Chinese American experience. You won't be able to put this down because you will be enthralled with each and every character. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ronna | 1/27/2014

    " A must read for all who love Lisa See's writing!! Such a well written , interesting life story of Lisa's family . It is also a great history of the Chinese-American experience through Lisa's family in California. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marion Littman | 1/26/2014

    " This is a story of immigrants and how they got here, and how they cope, complete with how they deal with all of the cultural issues, told by an excellent story-teller. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marcy | 1/18/2014

    " I have read almost all of Lisa See's books, so it only made sense for me to read about the true story concerning the past generations in her family tree. Gold Mountain, the west coast in America, was supposedly filled with gold, and that truth/rumor drew multitudes of people from America and overseas to the west. So many Chinese men came, leaving their wives and family back in small Chinese villages, hoping to make a fortune. In order to survive, the Chinese were hired to do the backbreaking work of building a railroad for very little money. In reality, little money was sent "home," and families were separated for years on end. Lisa's ancestors were those people. The first person to come over to America was an herbalist. Little money was made. His son, Fong See, however, had a good head for business, and became one of the only respected Chinese citizens living in Chinatown. At first, his workers made lacy underwear for prostitutes. When Fong See met a white woman with business sense who needed a job, and eventually became his wife, his store no longer sold underwear, but Chinese antiques that appealed to the wealthy whites. Fong See opened up many stores and profited greatly. Fong See and his wife escaped much of the prejudice that Chinese families faced because they had amassed quite a fortune. Chinese people at the time were not allowed to marry Caucasians, (many married in Mexico), families were not allowed to come to America from China due to immigration laws and horrendous American interrogations. Most of Fong See's children also had business sense, and when the war put a damper on Chinese Antique Inventory, See's sons made good business decisions themselves to add money to the "pot" that benefitted the whole See family. As Fong See got older, his Chinese heritage came to the forefront of his very being. He no longer wanted a wife who made family decisions. He wanted to be a "traditional" Chinese man. He divorced his white wife, traded in his fancy suits for long silk robes, and married several Chinese women who bore him two more families. Many of his older children married Caucasians. Lisa See came from one of those mixed marriages. Lisa told every story well. I felt like I personally knew most of the characters, and suffered along with their failures, their heartbreaks, and reveled in their successes. Her family's stories were worth the telling. Lisa has embraced her Chinese heritage in the wonderful books she writes - stories from China, and stories of Chinese immigrants who left China to live in America. I am so glad I got the chance to become somewhat intimate with Lisa's family! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 1/18/2014

    " I'm almost done with it and really love it. Compulsively readable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori | 1/11/2014

    " History of Chinese in both China and California: Laws, culture, customs. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lora | 12/20/2013

    " What a fascinating family history and memoir! Very dense in its amount of information, it certainly educated me about the experiences of Chinese in this country, as well as giving a nice background frame for some of her novels. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cora | 12/7/2013

    " My sister gave me this to read. It was such a facinating family history. I've become a fan of Lisa See's novels ever since. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mindy | 9/24/2013

    " My family history is so boring compared to this. This was so fascinating and really gave me a better appreciation for the immigrants coming to this country - especially the Chinese. I appreciate Chinese restaurants so much more now! It was what they had to do to survive! A really great book... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adele | 9/6/2013

    " Wonderful read! Makes me wish I could research my family roots in this detail of fashion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Psheafryzel | 8/27/2013

    " Pretty good but not great. i learned a lot about the Chinese and their immigartion to California. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Patricia | 2/25/2013

    " Pretty dry but factual. Always interesting to read her books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon | 10/27/2012

    " Wonderful look at the many trials the Chinese went through on coming to the US. Fun for those of us who have lived in the LA area to see how the China Town area was developed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hilary Kolakovsky | 7/2/2012

    " Historical memoir about the Chinese migration. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne Murphy | 10/6/2011

    " A good Biography of Chinese immigration to America "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex M. | 9/20/2011

    " Intensely interesting. I'm fascinated by her family history and how it's so radically different from mine. Told lyrically. I'm not always a fan of hers, but this book is worth a read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Libby Hewitt | 9/18/2011

    " Informative about Chinese immigrants to US but not nearly as compelling as "...the Secret Fan" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marion | 7/12/2011

    " Got a late start on this for my book club, so far I like her writing style but have been told by friends that it needed more editing, multiple characters with several different names and too much detail on business. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justine Philyaw | 7/1/2011

    " Engrossing true story about many generations in one immigrant family. I have enjoyed everything I have read by this author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alicia | 5/24/2011

    " You know the old saying "truth is stranger than fiction?" Well this wonderful book proves that old saying true. Lisa See records 100 years of her Chinese-American family history and it's compelling stuff. I could hardly put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mia | 4/7/2011

    " A long and intricate story of a complex family history, combined with the difficult social history of Chinese immigrants in the U.S. I knew very little about the Chinese-American community in Southern California, and See managed to intertwine family history and social history quite well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anita | 2/21/2011

    " Fascinating, well-told tale of a true American family. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jerjonji | 2/20/2011

    " This book traces the history of one family's arrival and assimilation into a country that doesn't warmly welcome. The impact of American policies, historical events, and prejudice colors the tale and makes it very real. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Georginadufour | 2/14/2011

    " Lisa See did a good research job on the history of Chinese immigration into the United States, but the story of her family was difficult to read. It seemed choppy and more like a documentary than a story. I had a hard time getting through it, but do feel like I learned a lot from it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzanne | 1/27/2011

    " was interesting to a point and i didnt really know anything about the plight of the chinese in america, but i couldnt finish it and i hate not finishing a book.i had had enough of it... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine | 12/7/2010

    " Reading this for Sierra Madre's ONE BOOK ONE CITY event
    at our library. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marion | 12/3/2010

    " Got a late start on this for my book club, so far I like her writing style but have been told by friends that it needed more editing, multiple characters with several different names and too much detail on business. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justine | 11/12/2010

    " Engrossing true story about many generations in one immigrant family. I have enjoyed everything I have read by this author. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katherine | 10/24/2010

    " Lisa See's biographical account of her family's immigration to America from China and ALL THE history that goes with it. Parts were very interesting, but ulitmately, it just got too tedious and I had to give it up on page 306. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia | 9/25/2010

    " The true story of the author's ancestor coming to North America. Fascinating, surprising and a totally different way of life than I could have imagined. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nadine | 8/30/2010

    " Probably the only piece of non-fiction I couldn't put down. I read it as part of my summer reading in high school and it hardly felt educational-although it most truly was! "

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About the Author
Author Lisa See

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of Peony in Love, Snow Flower and the Secret FanFlower NetThe Interior, and Dragon Bones, as well as the critically acclaimed memoir On Gold Mountain. The Organization of Chinese American Women named her the 2001 National Woman of the Year. She lives in Los Angeles.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading is an Audie Award–winning narrator and has received numerous Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She is also a theater actor in the Washington, DC, area and has been a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company since 1987. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, among others. She and her husband live in Hyattsville, Maryland, with their two children.