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The Last Communist Virgin

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3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  88 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
“Wang Ping’s The Last Communist Virgin is a beauty of a collection. She has interwoven the earthiness of China and the harshness of immigrant life . . . to create a series of short stories that are at once pitiful, heartbreaking, funny, and deeply inspiring.”—Lisa See, author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

From the restaurants of New York’s Chinatown to the retail empori
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Paperback, 218 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Coffee House Press
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Charles Degelman
Jan 24, 2015 Charles Degelman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed

Poet and educator Wang Ping spent her childhood in the Chinese Cultural Revolution before leaving for England and America. In The Last Communist Virgin, a series of novellas, Wang brings the inheritance her far-off origins to a wildly varying assortment of time and place. She drifts above and within the hearts, minds, spirits and bodies of a panoply of characters like a compassionate ghost. She can be stark and sharp-edged in her photojournalistic descriptions of times, places, people and events
...more
Shannongibney
Jul 03, 2007 Shannongibney rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in contemporary Chinese and Chinese American literature
Shelves: fiction
I was familiar with some of Wang Ping's poetry, but I had never read her fiction, so this was quite an interesting read. Here in Minnesota is she a prolific and inspiring presence -- criss-crossing genres all the time, telling all kinds of stories that would otherwise not be told.

Although I didn't feel every story was necessarily successful, I enjoyed the collection overall. The last story, "Maverick," was my favorite by far -- anyone interested in the spiritual cost of destroying the Earth shou
...more
Beth
Jan 08, 2008 Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: literary_fiction
Many of her stories are fairly dark, intense explorations of the hardships people endure in the slums of China and as new immigrants to America. The glimpses the reader gets of life in China during the Cultural Revolution are fascinating, full of small details like what apartments smell like. The title story is associated with most of the others through the lives of various characters, initially immigrants from China to New York City, some of whom ultimately return to Shanghai to try to rediscov ...more
Laurel Deloria
Feb 01, 2016 Laurel Deloria rated it really liked it
Difficulties of the immigrant life with the difficulties of life in changing China.
She has interwoven the earthiness of China and the harshness of immigrant life . . . to create a series of short stories that are at once pitiful, heartbreaking, funny, and deeply inspiring
Katie B-K
Jan 01, 2015 Katie B-K rated it liked it
Shelves: mac-book-club
Read the last short story, "Maverick," for the December 2014 Macalester Alumni book club and intensely enjoyed the discussion. Read the rest at different points before and after the book club. The book is one of those things that I know while reading that it is well written, interesting, and good literature, but it just isn't my thing. Partially because I'm not really a short story person, partially because I have a hard time connecting with the characters, partially because of the disjointed st ...more
Siobhan
Jul 10, 2011 Siobhan rated it really liked it
This was a lovely and interesting collection of stories about people living in China and New York after the Cultural Revolution. I thought the author did a swell job of creating complex characters and weaving them throughout the various stories. Their fears and desires were vastly diverse and gave an uninitiated rube like me a great glimpse into the joys and difficulties of China's transition away from Maoism. I would suggest it to anyone who likes realistic fiction and deep, thought-provoking c ...more
Celeste
Jul 25, 2013 Celeste rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
Too many characters and the transition between characters was not well done. I ended up not really caring about what happened to each character. Also the only thing they all had in common was that they either currently lived in China or came to the U.S. from China. I would rather have had a story about one family rather than all these that were not related to eachother.
Sasha
Mar 31, 2013 Sasha rated it liked it
Shelves: grad-school
I had mixed feelings about this collection of stories based around the experiences of characters in China and in the U.S. I thought most of the stories were beautifully written and intricate, but others fell into romantic cliche or literary device, which made them less effective.
R.
Feb 20, 2016 R. marked it as to-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Holly
Jul 30, 2007 Holly rated it it was amazing
Collection of short stories (many are related so it reads more like a novel) about growing up in Communist China and dealing with the US as a Chinese immigrant. I really liked the characters and the interrelatedness of many of the stories.
Bryan Worra
May 25, 2007 Bryan Worra rated it liked it
Some interesting things at play here. Wang Ping takes some more imaginative turns with some forays into magical realism. If you like Wang Ping's work, you should check this one out.
Sue Mellgren
Jan 17, 2012 Sue Mellgren rated it liked it
Nice collection of stories of Chinese life and also of the lives of Chinese immigrants in America. Not all the stories were great reads but all were interesting.
Kate
This book was complicated. But I liked it. The stories all connect- some are really obvious, some aren't. The last one was easily my favorite.
Christie
Sep 06, 2008 Christie rated it really liked it
China is still fighting a sort of cultural revolution and Chinese immigrants have many problems in America.
Nicole
Sep 29, 2010 Nicole marked it as to-read
Austin Eckstrom recommended the 2nd story in particular.
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Eunice marked it as to-read
Jun 26, 2016
Christina
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Jun 22, 2016
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May 30, 2016
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nomadreader (Carrie D-L) marked it as to-read
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Karenmelk
Karenmelk rated it it was ok
Apr 26, 2016
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Born in Shanghai and grew up in the East China Sea. Love the body of water, its sound and smell, love the touch of the muddy beach and golden sand.
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