Hilary's Reviews > 春

春 by Ba Jin
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's review
Jun 07, 2007

liked it
Read in November, 2007

The book strikes me as a kind of Jane Austen novel with a liberal dose of May Fourth indignation tossed in. The main tension of the novel comes from the impending marriages of the young female protagonists. All are arranged marriages, most are bound to be unhappy, and the girls don't seem to have the wherewithal to do anything about it. You get the same feeling you get from watching "Raise the Red Lantern," viz. "Bring on the revolution!"

The characters seem awfully restrained to an American reader, but -Spring- is a very good study of the social mores of a different time and culture. If you are learning Chinese, it's a good way to practice your reading and increase your speed--compared to some other modern fiction (e.g. Lu Xun), this is a breeze to read. The vocabulary is simple and repetitive.

I got interested in Ba Jin when he died a couple of years ago, and the Chinese press was full of effusive praise for him. This book, Spring (Chun), is the middle book of the "Torrents" trilogy. Why start in the middle, you may ask? Well, I happened upon this book at a second-hand book sale in Beijing the same week Ba Jin died. So that's what I bought. I didn't have the time to crack it open until about a month ago, though.

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