“Ancient Chinese wisdom secretly passed through handwritten fortunes guides the lives of two men from different cultures.” Each overcomes adversity to achieve inner awareness through personal journeys. In order to achieve happiness, one often must look beyond the obvious and have faith in a...
Michael Hamilton: Handsome, athletic, funny and intelligent, Michael is popular with women but has no interest in committing to any of his girlfriends. He's always been a pragmatist but suddenly finds himself out of work due to company downsizing and he feels completely lost and uncertain about the future. When he meets Jennie Greene he's quite taken with her, but after dating a year she wants to get married and he doesn't. When unusual things start happening to him he has to rethink his whole perspective on life.
Jennie Greene: Late 20s - early 30s, Jennie teaches ballet and lyrical jazz to children and teenagers at a dance school. She's beautiful, intelligent, creative and strong-willed, is open minded about life in general and keeps a dream journal beside her bed. When she meets Michael she presents a challenge he's not accustomed to and doesn't want to become just one more of his conquests.
Wu: Born in China, Wu emigrates to the United States at the age of five and as an adult, has successfully assimilated into the American culture. He runs the family owned Good Fortune restaurant and with hard work and dedication, has achieved success in business, married his high school sweetheart and fathered two young sons. While living the American dream, he constantly balks at the traditions his old-fashioned father believes in. The two of them have been at odds with each other for years and constantly clash.
Anna: Anna is Wu's wife. She shares his background and also came to the United States as a young child. She is traditional, patient and understanding, a wonderful mother and kind daughter-in-law to Tong, who lives with them. She gets frustrated with her workaholic husband and is fed up being the only woman in the house and wants to have another child, a daughter, to balance out the testosterone in the house.
Eric: Eric is Michael's best friend since college. They were hippies in the 60s and share a lot of memories from those days. Now he's a successful architect and has an cynical edgy sense of humor, but is very grounded and close-minded about anything remotely metaphysical. When his wife and Michael start having meaningful conversations about the unusual circumstances Michael is suddenly having, Eric scoffs at the two of them and dismisses them as weirdos.
Susan: Susan is Eric's wife. She's gorgeous and sexy, with long curly auburn hair, green eyes and a great figure. Susan is a therapist and has an open mind about topics such as synchronicity and metaphysics. She helps Michael accept a different world view as he goes through a radical transition in his thinking, accepts information from unexpected sources, and decides his future goals.
Tong: Tong is Wu's father, and the heart of the book. As he grew up in a small Chinese village, he was tutored by his grandfather in more than scholarly pursuits. Grandfather instilled in Tong the ability to write poetry and the importance of teaching those in need of his knowledge when they cross his path. His life is saddened by the early death of his wife, and this sadness gives him a depth of compassion that enables him to respond to others in need of guidance.
Lyle: Lyle lives in Big Sur, CA and becomes friends with Michael while he's on a sojourn to find himself. He's a rough-around-the-edges bearded mountain-man type character, an artist who supports himself by whittling statues and selling them at art galleries along the coast.
Cho: Cho is Tong's brother and Wu's uncle. He is devoted to Wu.
Wang: A waiter at Good Fortune restaurant who usually waits on Michael.
Bud Anderson: Bud is a good friend of Michael's. They met several years ago at a marketing convention and despite having vastly different outward appearances, form a close personal friendship. He becomes a freelance consultant that uses his knowledge and connections to help Michael open up a new and trendy business.
Tom: Tom is Lyle's friend and roommate. Tom is also an artist who makes windchimes from beach glass and shells, and other natural objects he collects from the Big Sur beaches. He has a spiritual side, wears a silver ring with an OM symbol, and meditates. Tom and Lyle have a sparring friendship where they playfully insult each other but are best buds.
Grandfather: Grandfather was the most influental person in Tong's life. From the time Tong was old enough to teach, he tutors Tong in the basic fundamentals including the art of calligraphy. But Grandfather also teaches his grandson to write poetry. This talent is used throughout Tong's life in several ways. The reader will find out when they read the book but it won't be disclosed here!
Charles: A high strung party planner who approaches Michael about expanding his new business.
Andy: Michael's brother who was killed in Vietnam. His loss affects Michael deeply.
Linda: A Chinese-American girl Michael meets briefly in Big Sur. She answers some important questions for him.
Eddie: Eddie Long was Michael's boss at the advertising agency.
“At least once in his lifetime, a man of conscience finds himself in the position of being a teacher to one in need of guidance...Always remember, you are intimately connected from the moment you realize you have met one who is in need of a teacher and it is you who holds the knowledge they seek.”
“...when one intrinsically comprehends what is right, taking action is not always the best course. Sometimes, not by doing, but just by being who you are and practicing patience leads you to your goal. By allowing the way of all things to show you the turn of the road, the mystery of how one ought to proceed will be revealed.”
Prologue 1. October 3, 1994 2. Chinatown 3. Best Friends 4. Tong and Mei-Li 5. New Arrivals 6. Unending Sorrow 7. The Journey Begins 8. Grandpop's Letter 9. The Proverb 10. The Little Tadpole 11. Accountability 12. Knowledge and Principles 13. Michael's Dream 14. Bud 15. Tong's Dream 16. Symbols 17. Physical Attraction 18. Andy 19. Voice In The Wind 20. Deep Breathing and Fortune Cookies 21. Pen Strokes 22. Tom and Lyle 23. The Stargazers 24. Foreshadowing 25. Love and Compassion 26. Tong's Authority 27. The Third Fortune 28. Lighthouse Blues 29. The Promise Kept 30. The Plan 31. Junior Agrees 32. The Lease 33. Getting Hired 34. Humiliation 35. Thanksgiving Plans 36. Thanksgiving Day 37. The Lovers' Dance 38. The Proper Perspective 39. Truthful Feelings 40. January 31, 1995 Year Of The Boar 41. The Blessing 42. The First Arrival 43. Valentine's Day 44. The Second Arrival 45. More Success 46. One Year Later 47. Wu's Promise 48. Wu's Comprehension 49. Missing Father 50. The Final Fortune Epilogue
Fu Symbol: The Fu symbol that appears on the cover, and on certain pages inside the book to denote scene breaks, is the Chinese symbol of good fortune.
overcoming adversity: When Michael Hamilton loses his job he is completely lost and doesn't know what he's going to do. For 12 years his job has consumed his life. The reader follows his transformation, guided by unconventional means.
Love and Romance: Jennie and Michael, Anna and Wu, Mei-li and Tong. Three love stories intertwine.
Symbols: Dreams, visions, coincidences, voices in the wind. All influence and shape Michael's future.
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