Sun is ready to leave his village in China for America, the
place known as Gum Saan, Gold Mountain. His father warns
him, though, that passage will not be easy. Because of the 1882
Chinese Exclusion Act, new immigrants like Sun are detained
at Angel Island until they are called to take a difficult oral
exam before they can "land" - leave Angel Island and go
ashore. On the boat, Sun had studied maps of his village and
memorized facts about his ancestors. But as the weeks pass in
detainment, the map's compass points swirl in his memory, and
Sun worries that he will lose his direction and be turned away.
The oil paintings are rich with historical details in this vivid
recounting, based on the author's father-in-law's experiences, of
a disturbing chapter in Chinese American history.