All Things Tending towards the Eternal

E-book – $18.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3062-3

Trade Paper – $18.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3061-6
Publication Date
February 2015
Page Count
312 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

All Things Tending towards the Eternal

A Novel
Kathleen Lee

Traveling through China in 1989, not long after the Tiananmen Square massacre, Fanny hopes to make sense of her brother Bruno’s death in a motorcycle accident by finding a woman with whom he had exchanged letters. On her journey Fanny’s fate becomes entwined with a handsome British rogue, an American of Russian-Cuban descent returning to Tashkent, and two Chinese men—ne who loves Charles Dickens, the other a budding, entrepreneurial con man—truggling to find their way in a country undergoing tumultuous transformation. Kathleen Lee’s debut novel explores the tension between the allure of the unfamiliar that draws us to distant lands and its unbidden tendency to reveal us to ourselves. With its rollicking sense of humor and slyly lyrical voice, as well as an extraordinary deftness in the rendering of place, All Things Tending towards the Eternal is an unforgettable ride.

About the Author

Kathleen Lee is a writer living in Santa Fe and Houston. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Story Quarterly, and the Colorado Review, as well as Best American Travel Writing. She is the author of Travel among Men (2002), a collection of stories.


"What begins as a kind of contemporary Henry James, a lady traveling alone, turns into a boisterous, multi-cultural romp: the early chapters spring to life with its omniscient narrative of larger-than life characters that would delight the fans of Zadie Smith, or, indeed, Zhou's beloved Bleak Houses. I enjoyed it more than any new novel I have read this year." -Katherine Karlin, author of Send Me Work: Stories (TriQuarterly Books)

"I loved this book—it's beautifully written, with much to say about the deeper and messier meanings of travel, and with a vision of solitude rare in American writing. All the characters are drawn with thrilling intelligence, especially the coolheaded protagonist, Fanny, who well understands the risks she keeps walking straight into. A compelling and really wonderful piece of fiction."—Joan Silber, author of Fools
"All Things Tending towards the Eternal is a beautifully written novel, the story of a woman's trip across China to recover the irrecoverable. Kathleen Lee creates a diverse cast of characters that join the quest, all of whom are wonderfully drawn, laugh-out-loud funny, and utterly original. I loved every page of this novel."—Robert Boswell, author of Tumbledown
"The heroine of this impressive novel is refreshingly honest about the limits of travel as a means to knowledge and fulfillment. In accepting the limitations of her companions, in appreciating those who seem to be willing to open themselves to the moment, and in embracing occasions of unforeseen, temporary community, she slowly gains confidence about her capacity to endure and to grow. This is a rare novel that makes us feel we are making contact with the texture of experience rather than the conventions of a genre."—Carl Dennis, author of Another Reason