Title: Portrait of a Thief
Author: Grace D. Li
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 384 pages; 11 hours (audiobook)
Level of difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries
Rating: 4/5 Stars
A cultural heist, an examination of Chinese American identity, and a necessary critique of the lingering effects of colonialism.
I’m giving this book a four-star for the literary, emotional and critical commentary rather than the actual heists. They were very faulty, quite convenient plans – definitely full of holes. Thus how they managed to execute them as novices was a suspension in disbelief.
The book is a feel-good about a possible situation where one can earn a tremendous amount of money to remove the burden of responsibilities and obligations while doing something meaningful and morally sound.
A running theme in the novel is the pressure of being an immigrant, more specifically, a second-generation Chinese in America trying to perform to the expectations of parents who believe in the American dream.
The critical commentary on imperialism (from both parties), colonialism, violence, and power were well woven into the story.