A few years ago, after reading The Pacific Between, a reader told me that it was like reading a modern retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
I said, "What?" I never thought of it that way. I didn't set out to retell that story.
But in many ways, it is true. There are many parallels. Most basically, both are the Hero's Journey, so some resemblance is inevitable.
However, upon further analysis, I can see more similarities:
Greg Lockland is Dorothy (sorry, there's no Toto, unless you count his nice clothes).
Lian is the wizard that he seeks (who turns out to be not so magical after all).
Greg is unhappy and dreams of a better life.
Greg travels to a strange place called Oz (Asia) to find the wizard.
Along the way, Greg finds lifelong friendships with the likes of Scarecrow (Old Chow -- he has a brain!), Tin Man (Agnes -- she has a heart!), and Cowardly Lion (David -- he has courage!). And a whole cast of characters who help him along.
He also has a nemesis, who turns out to be less threatening and crucial to his mission than he thought. His greatest challenge is himself.
Eventually, he realizes as great as Oz is, there's no place like home. He also didn't realize the power to go home has always been with him.
Greg comes home a different person than he was. He finds happiness.