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Woman from Shanghai: Tales of Survival from a Chinese Labor Camp
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Woman from Shanghai: Tales of Survival from a Chinese Labor Camp

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  65 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In Woman from Shanghai, Xianhui Yang, one of China’s most celebrated and controversial writers, gives us a work of fact-based fiction that reveals firsthand—and for the first time in English—what life was like in one of Mao’s most notorious labor camps.

Between 1957 and 1960, nearly three thousand Chinese citizens were labeled “Rightists” by the Communist Part and banished
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 4th 2009 by Pantheon (first published 2009)
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Mar 12, 2015 Fan rated it it was amazing
Please see my review on the San Francisco Chronicle
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
May 19, 2012 Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cina
The ditch: il luogo in cui sono andati a morire gli ideali degli intellettuali cinesi

da questi racconti, in particolare da quello che da il titolo alla raccolta, è stato tratto il film di Wang Bing
presentato a Venezia 2010
sotto la mia rece del film

Anni cinquanta, campo di rieducazione di Jiabiangou. Circa tremila intellettuali e “elementi di destra” furono inviati ai Laogai per “essere rieducati attraverso il lavoro” e correggere le proprie idee revisioniste. Il film abbraccia l’intero arco
Sep 09, 2009 Ellen rated it really liked it
Between 1957 and 1960, nearly three thousand Chinese citizens were sent to "reeducation" camps after being labeled as "Rightists" by the Communist party. The camps were located in the northwestern desert area of Gansu, a part of China that seems to figure rarely in Western fiction. These political prisoners endured brutal living conditions similar to the gulags of the Soviet Union - forced work, poor or little food, bad sanitation, primitive quarters and political harangues. Those with intact, w ...more
Aug 25, 2016 Allison rated it it was amazing
This work of "fiction" haunts me. It is a testament to humanity's ability to be the cruelest and most insane and yet it also captures our capacity for generosity and compassion and love. The thought that this camp ever existed and isn't held up as an international example the way so many other horrific labor camps are mystifies me on one part and makes total sense on the other (hence the "fiction" classification.) I am changed by reading this book and it makes me want to prevent any such atrocit ...more
Betty Ng
Sep 01, 2009 Betty Ng rated it it was ok
This book helped me learned more about the Chinese Cultural Revolution through each of the survivors' stories. One thing is that the title of this book that contains "Woman from Shanghai..." was very misleading. There was only one story out of the entire book that talked about the woman, and she happened to be the wife of a doctor or engineer that was imprisoned in the Jiashangbou camp, and it was narrated by his fellow imprisoned mate who met her when she came to the site to visit her husband. ...more
Dec 19, 2009 Pbwritr rated it it was amazing
Shelves: foreign, nonfiction
A collection of these stories from persons interviewed by the author who survived the hellish years of "re-education" at Jiahianghou labor camp 1957-1961. Three thousand were sent there; only about 500 survived. Nearly all died of starvation. Those sent were deemed "Rightists" by the Communists, even if they'd been devoted to the Party, based on an unwise statement or attitude, etc. Once again, another great book that delves into a time and place that helps reveal things we are often unaware of.
Nov 26, 2013 Barb rated it it was ok
basically a collection of short stories - I really don't like short stories. And the translation was pretty awful with some of the characters being way too Western to be believed. I wish the cultural realities were better retained. These were also painful because they were really true life. Hard to believe this was happening in the world when I was in my early teens. Actually horrifying. I read about half the book and had to stop
Christopher Litsinger
I'm having a hard time deciding how I feel about this book. It certainly talks candidly about the horror of certain aspects of the labor camp, but it still felt intensely (self?) censored. But probably more frustrating was the fact that this is a collection of short stories- I really wanted to put the experiences in the contact of an entire life.
I think I'd recommend "Brothers" as a better place to get a sense of the Labor Camps' impact on Chinese society and families for most readers.
Apr 25, 2013 Cinzanopaws rated it liked it
Written in a simple style, perhaps something lost in translation. The individual cases were tragic, it is amazing how power can lead to such cruelty. The main thing that I did not like, was the actual cover of the book. The title refers to an anecdote about a lady who came to find her dead husband in a labour camp, but the cover shows a healthy beautifully made up woman, as though the picture was being used to sell the book.
Lynette Massey
Oct 28, 2011 Lynette Massey rated it did not like it
Truthfully, I only read the preface and first chapter or two. I'm not saying the book is bad, it just wasn't for me. The writing style was just not something I enjoyed following. However, I did learn about how there is a fine line between fiction and fact in some of the Chinese writing due to the lack of freedom of speech.
Kay Michel
Dec 16, 2014 Kay Michel rated it it was amazing
A tragic tale set on the backdrop of Mao's Cultural Revolution.
It pulled me in from day one and I continued reading all through the night. I couldn't help but feel for the characters. I thought it was interesting, because people often forget that political movements very similar to the Holocaust have gone on in other countries as well.
Nov 01, 2009 Madeline rated it really liked it
NEVER judge a book by its cover.
Feb 02, 2010 Sara rated it did not like it
I found the writing very stilted and uninspired. I was initially drawn by the cover and then further intrigued by the description, but just couldn't get past writing which I didn't enjoy.
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