Waxwings by Jonathan Raban.

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The Seattle setting is very much a part of Waxwings, as is the time —
the beginning of the end of the dot com boom. Two separate stories
eventually intersect. One is the story of the arrival of a Chinese
illegal — the term snakehead (human smugglers) is used in this book.
The other is the disintegration of a marriage and the effect on the 4
year old child of the couple. The British writer/professor at the UW is
the chief character. At one point the downward spiral for this hapless
chap is a little much, but things eventually take a turn for the better.

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