“Kudos to the narrator who had about 100 different voices for different characters.”
Kaitlin Hansen, Goodreads reviewer
“An incredible read. The wide cast of characters as well as the different lenses of Isabel and Claire are a delight to listen to … what a complex and deeply human story. If possible, I recommend listening with the hard copy book in hand, as the photos and illustrations really enhanced my experience.”
Anonymous, audiobooks.com reviewer
“Like a flowering vine, it sends out blossoms unexpectedly … remarkably moving as it astutely weaves the story of an old and sometimes disreputable family, and how the sins of each generation create crucibles of learning for the subsequent generation. The authors deftly interlace sentiment and irony, horror and wonder as Shanghai goes through its convulsive changes. Highly recommended.”
Aliza, Audible reviewer
With the voices of Rachel Yong, Claire Chao and Isabel Sun Chao
Listen to audiobook samples below
- Preface: Just Eighteen 00:00
Preface: Just Eighteen
- Chapter 4: Tael End 00:00
Chapter 4: Tael End
- Chapter 18: Good Time Harley 00:00
Chapter 18: Good Time Harley
My husband John and I spent the 2020 pandemic year in isolation in our Honolulu home.
I produced the Remembering Shanghai audiobook during that time, making good use of remote technologies that quickly became a part of everyday life.
My first challenge was to find a narrator to take on my mom Isabel’s part. (I was to narrate my own role.) Authenticity was crucial: I was looking for a mature voice with a light American accent, and native pronunciation of Mandarin words; versatility in voicing dialogues between more than 60 characters including men and women, old and young, native Chinese speakers of different classes, and a smattering of foreigners; even, as the male admirer of an 18-year-old Isabel, singing a gooey love song!
After weeks screening more than 100 unsuitable candidates—there were talented narrators but none met the Chinese language requirement—I was logging onto the search platform to cancel our ad, just as a new audition popped onto my screen. Enter … Rachel Yong: love at first sound!
Rachel is a Brooklynite who is much like Claire (okay, a younger version): Chinese with a strong Hong Kong connection now based in the US, who learned Mandarin in the US and Beijing. Although ours was her first ever audiobook audition, she came to us with diverse producing, directing, writing and voiceover experience. It turns out she’s a two-time winner of the Asian American Film Lab Best Actress award, and has performed at highly regarded New York performing venues such as EST, Colt Couer, The Public Theater and the Flea Theater.
Although Rachel and I prepared and practiced for months, the actual readings were completed over an intensive ten-day period, with Claire recording in a downtown Honolulu studio and Rachel in a New York City studio. The recordings were then passed to the capable hands of Deyan Audio, who took care of editing, quality control, mastering and final delivery to our distributors, Author’s Republic.
Readers have told us they like to listen to the audiobook with a printed book open in front of them, so they may follow the illustrations for an immersive experience.
The voice of Isabel, Rachel Yong.
Rachel on a shoot in New York City.
Claire at the Honolulu studio mic.