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I read a novel, I think around 2007-2008, about a Chinese man who believes he is a reincarnated dragon. (Actually, I think the main character is his son, or it's at least told from his son's perspective) I think he tried to put out the sun, and so was punished with execution/reincarnation as a human. He lost his memories ('drunk a broth of forgetfulness' or something) and only realized he was a dragon after being told in a dream.

The story is set in the US (I think San Francisco specifically). The main characters come from China looking for work.

To prove that he is worthy of being a dragon again, the man contacts the wright brothers, and, with their help by mail, builds an airplane and flies in it. Leading up to that, he builds several prototype gliders that fly like kites. His son shows one off to a girl.

I think the afterward mention that the book was based on a true story of a guy that built a plane after the wright brothers did. I don't remember anything fantastical happening - I think the only evidence that the guy was a dragon was his dream. A big earthquake strikes partway through the novel - I think maybe it was the 1906 San Francisco earthquake...

Anyone know the name of this story?

I remember a few other details, but I'm reluctant to post them, because I think I may be getting mixed up with another similar book I read around the same time...

closed as off-topic by Valorum, FuzzyBoots, Machavity, user68762, Organic Marble Dec 23 '17 at 4:27

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about science fiction or fantasy within the scope defined in the help center." – Valorum, FuzzyBoots, Machavity, Community, Organic Marble
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I believe this is Dragonwings. Assuming that's the case, it's not actually a fantasy novel. – Valorum Dec 23 '17 at 1:10
  • That's the one! Thanks! – Charles Noon Dec 23 '17 at 1:13
  • And the book I was confusing it with was probably another in the series. Excellent, I was hunting for that one too. – Charles Noon Dec 23 '17 at 1:16
  • I've voted to close. This particular book seems to be a work of historical fiction interspersed with the main character imagining dragons. It's not fantasy (per se). Later books by the same author were straight up dragon fantasy novels. – Valorum Dec 23 '17 at 1:19
  • I wasn't certain whether it could be considered a fantasy novel or not, but this meta post: scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/337/… would seem to indicate that it would be on-topic? If my interpretation of the post/memory of the book is faulty, please close the question. It's likely I'm remembering some aspects of the later 'straight-up fantasy' novels and confusing them with this book... – Charles Noon Dec 23 '17 at 1:21