It is set in a not-too-distant future in which Mars is being colonised and the US economy has collapsed and been taken over by superpower China (it was written in 1992). There are two interlocking stories: the eponymous hero is a gay mixed-race American who can 'pass' for a Han Chinese. Meanwhile on Mars a widowed asylum seeker and his daughter struggle to survive, and are befriended by a gruff but kindly citizen.
One thing I like about this book is that people struggle with unawareness of themselves and their emotional conflicts, but the reader can work out what is going on.
The way it helped to change my world view was the heart-breaking asylum seeker story, which entrenched and armour-plated my views on being welcoming to the people who seek refuge in our communities.
I have also read 'half the day is night' by McHugh, which I also liked but isn't as gripping.