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Little Hut Of Leaping Fishes

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  122 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Mingzhi is born to be a mandarin: as the formidable Master Chai's first grandson, his life is mapped from the moment of his birth. But times are changing in China, and as Mingzhi grows, he begins to question his privileged heritage and the secrets and shadows that lurk in the corners of the Chai mansion; eager to flee from the corruption, treachery and rivalries of his fam ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published by Picador USA (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-29 of 275)
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It is stimulating for a change to read a good historical novel from a crucial period of Asian history, that is not written from a eurocentric point of view.
I loved the prose style of this book. Even though it was written in English, it had a very lyrical, Chinese feel to it. Many layers to the imagery and themes in the novel.

The story itself was very enjoyable and the central character of Mingzhi was very likeable and easy to relate to. While the Chinese culture (end of 1800s) was certainly a focus of the novel, the greater focus was Mingzhi's own desire to think and act beyond the limitations of his family and culture.

A very inspiring and beautif
This is a very enjoyable book, I read it very quick, but after all I am a sucker for this sort of story.
It’s written in a way which gives it a fleeting sensation and events seem to pass by you very quick, which in my opinion is a bit of a shame, because before you fully grasp the extent of something we move onto the next situation. Despite this minor inconvenience is a very enjoyable book, it follows the life of a man during the last few years of Imperial China. I love this sort of thing, set a
Inside a multi-generational Chinese family at the end of the 1800's, when the opium trade is flourishing and the reaction against foreigners starts to appear. The author has studied the life within the Chinese household and the education and steps to become a Mandarin. The resolution of the book is rushed, considering that the beginning is drawn with such detail and color.
Sonia Gomes
Feb 13, 2009 Sonia Gomes rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sonia by: Got it from the British Library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Convincing version of late Qing Dynasty China. All the symptoms of rot are here: the corruption, opium smoking, the rote learning of the Confucian classics culminating in the examination system, the Boxers. Down these mean streets goes Mingzhi, who is not only not himself mean, but idealistic and, while an efficient student of the classics, a man with a heretical taste in foreign languages, ideas, and people. Meanwhile, everything around him, including most of his family, disintegrates. Chiew-Si ...more
I loved this book.
what a time to live in, so very different from what we know.
And yet human emotion stays the same regardless of time or setting.
All parents want the best for their child and all humans need love and company etc.
Nothing ever changes and that is just oke.
Colubrina Laticauda
Un bello scorcio della CIna che cambia ed entra in contatto con la "modernità" occidentale... spero di poter leggere altro dell'autrice!
Set in late 19th century imperial China, two brothers born within days of each other are worlds apart. The eldest Mingzhi is born to inherit the Chai wealth. The youngest Mingyuan being the 2nd grandson is very bitter. This story tells of the differences between the boys and their lives. storytelling at it,s best.
A historically interesting novel with an interesting story to tell. Chiew-Siah Tei's writing style was superb, however I felt a little removed from the characters.
Really enjoyed this story set in the dying days of Imperial China.
Oriental fiction is usually my favourite fiction of all. There is a certain something about it that I love. Flowery beautiful descriptive writing creatkng a great sense of place and usually a likeable written style to tell the story.

This was neither. I got 22 pages in and thoughy forget it. The writing is stilted and feels so false like and there is no description that makes you feel involved or as though your living the story rather than just reading it..Crap. I'll stick to my regular Chinese a
loved it..the essence of how the Chinese people in China worked and were treated at that particular time, and there was also mentions on the countries which tried to invade China, on how women was perceived in the society and the importance of education in a family. all the elements blend well which created a very beautiful story..i would love to read this book again
Strange and thought provoking book - a little bit too long. But gets you into the mindset of the late 1800s in China, good on the cultural background and the constraints within families. Some of the characterisation is not finely drawn, but it is really a novel of cultures rather than individuals. Worth reading, but I didn't keep my copy to reread
The book kept my attention. It takes place in late 19th century China and follows the lives of two half-brothers in the Chai dynasty. The first brother was favored due to his birth order and lived the good life. The second brother had a life of strife. I love cultural novels, but this one was a bit depressing. All in all a decent read.
Hasri bin Hasfa
mingzhi... it is all about him... not much of the little hut, the leaping fish... there is jasmine as well... i like the story. it will be better if the life of mingzhi ends at old age or his death...
This book started about a bit simplistic, but turned out to be a beautiful read with complexity of both characters and story, I really enjoyed it.
Colourful storyline with interesting and complex characters - maybe a little overlong and dragged out in parts - nonetheless a good holiday read!
Nicola Reid
Beautiful detailed description makes you feel part of the story which opens up thinking of wider issues of cultural shifts and migrations.
I enjoyed the story but found the writing rather stilted.
Anushaya Collure

This is a good film plot. I liked the writing style very much.
Suzy Adcock
Wonderful book, so delicately but accessibly written.
May 11, 2012 Shammy added it
Amazing....I cannot put down the book.
A page turner and beautifully written.
Keir Bridges
Keir Bridges marked it as to-read
Jun 22, 2015
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Jun 20, 2015
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Chiew-Siah Tei was born and raised in Tampin, a small town in southern Malaysia.

She has been widely published in Malaysian Chinese media since the 1980s. In the 1990s she wrote literary prose, as well as columns on social issues, film, arts and literature for a variety of publications including Sin Chew Jit Poh and Nanyang Siang Pao.

Her first collection of prose, It’s Snowing (Chinese) – an accou
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