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The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices

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4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,558 Ratings  ·  532 Reviews
When Deng Xiaoping’s efforts to “open up” China took root in the late 1980s, Xinran recognized an invaluable opportunity. As an employee for the state radio system, she had long wanted to help improve the lives of Chinese women. But when she was given clearance to host a radio call-in show, she barely anticipated the enthusiasm it would quickly generate. Operating within t ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 11th 2003 by Anchor (first published October 2nd 2002)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) It's not a "story" in the novel/autobiography sense, but rather a collection of anecdotes taken from the author's experience as a radio journalist in…moreIt's not a "story" in the novel/autobiography sense, but rather a collection of anecdotes taken from the author's experience as a radio journalist in China during the "opening up" years of Deng Xiaoping. The unifying thread is the author's own journey in discovering more about the millions of anonymous lives around her.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Samadrita
"At that time in China, I might have gone to prison for writing a book like this. I couldn't risk abandoning my son, or the women who received help and encouragement through my radio programme. In England, the book became possible. It was as if a pen had grown in my heart."

A stinging indictment of patriarchal violence in China through the ages and the hypocrisy of the Cultural Revolution, a tribute to the destroyed lives of countless women who have been left brutalized by an unjust, barbaric,
...more
Jamie
Sep 04, 2007 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fic
Wow, scrolling down the comments on this book I realized I'm the first guy to review this. Umm, here goes.

Continuing my year of China reading I casually picked this up at my aunt's house but pretty soon found myself absolutely glued to it. I've read a few memoirs of modern China and the Cultural Revolution, many of which contained stories of shocking cruelty and incredible endurance, but none have affected me quite as much as the stories compiled in this book. The images are just stunning: a gir
...more
Nicole~
Dec 07, 2014 Nicole~ rated it it was amazing
Back in Nanjing 1989-1997, Xinran ran a radio program called "Words of the Night Breeze," the motive in her words: "to open a window, a tiny hole, so that people could allow their spirits to cry out and breathe after the gunpowder- laden atmosphere" [of the Cultural Revolution].

The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices is a compilation of 14 life stories taken from personal interviews of some of these 'survivors' - women whose lives were agonizingly destroyed, their families ripped to shreds, thei
...more
Larry Bassett
Apr 29, 2013 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china, nonfiction
I am chasing my adopted daughter’s heritage by reading books about China, especially as it relates to abandoned and damaged daughters. If you have been reading my reviews for a while, you know that my daughter who is ten years old was abandoned in Aksu, China at the age of 3 months. We believe that because she had a cleft lip and palate her parents were unable to nourish her so abandoned her in a safe location so someone with more access to medical resources could save her life. She was very mal ...more
Nikki
Sep 03, 2011 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, non-fiction
Xinran was the presenter of a radio show in China, during which she would ask women to call her and tell her about themselves. Over the years, she gathered many stories of Chinese women, and this book contains fifteen of them, including her own. It's a diverse collection of stories, including the stories of a lesbian woman, of loveless forced marriages, of hopeless love stories, of women who were raped as children...

They're eye-opening, saddening, horrifying. Xinran's matter of fact tone -- thou
...more
لميس محمد
" أي نوع من البلدان كان هذا البلد سنة 1976؟ مدينة كبيره تقبع بين الركام و ثلاثمئة ألف شخص فقدوا حياتهم ، و مع ذلك لم يعلم أحد بالأمر . كم كانت الصين متخلّفة !

فعلاً أنا معك يا عزيزتي شينران كم كانت الصين متخلفه بشّده !
" هذه كانت أكثر المواضع إيلاماً في نفسي !! "


قدمت شينران برنامجاً إذاعياً في الصين " كلمات على نسيم الليل " البرنامج المسائي اليومي كانت من خلاله تدعو النساء للإتصال و الحديث عن أنفسهن ,,
هنا في هذا الكتاب تُبحر " شينران " معنا في حياة النساء الصينيات و مايتعرض لهن من محن و صعوبات
...more
Janet
May 17, 2008 Janet rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone with a social conscience
Recommended to Janet by: liked another book by the same author
This is one of the most tragic books I have ever read. Story after story of shattered lives - simply by being born female. But I recommend it to all women, so that we don't forget how far the world still needs to go and that we who live more comfortable lives don't stay silent. We MUST speak up for those who are powerless to speak for themselves.
Sori
Mar 12, 2016 Sori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookfair-2015, 2016
كيف يمكنني تقييمه؟ لا أعرف كيف يمكن لقصص كهذه أن تكون حقيقية غير مختلقة!
كتاب جمع بين كفتيه أقذر وأحقر رجال العالم، قصص تدمي القلب والعينين معاً. بكيت نعم. تألمت، كنت أباعد بين فترات قراءتي له وأكتفي بقصة واحدة كل مرة

.لا يمكن أن تقرأه امرأة دون أن يحدها ذلك على كره الذكور بشكل عام والصينيين بشكل خاص ومن عاشوا في تلك الفترة بشكل أخص

كتاب ثمين، ليس لذوي القلوب الضعيفة، ولكنه دسم مثقل بأوجاع أكثر مما يحتمله كتاب واحد.

أولى قراءاتي للأدب الصيني، متلهفة لقراءة المزيد عن الصين وثقافتها ومجتمعها. ذلك الشر
...more
Nanny SA
Buku ini adalah buku kedua karya Xinran yang saya baca,buku pertamanya adalah :Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of TibetSky Burial . Keduanya menceritakan tentang kekuatan, ketabahan da ketangguhan wanita Cina dari sisi(cerita) yang berbeda.

Pada tahun 1980-an, Deng Xiaoping mulai berusaha untuk 'membuka' Cina, pada masa itulah diakhir 1980-an Xinran medapat pekerjaan sebagai penyiar radio negara dan mendapat izin untuk memandu acara 'show telepon radio' yang beroperasi di dalam batasan sensor peme
...more
Dorothea
Jan 18, 2016 Dorothea rated it it was amazing
My long-held belief that the roots of extreme sexual repression can be traced to Judea-Christian influences has unraveled completely in the first 10 pages of this book. In George Orwell's 1984 it was obvious that his dsytopia was taken directly from Soviet Russia, but I never understood where Orwell was getting his images of sexual repression and taboos against romantic love. Wherever it came from it was also present in China.

The stories of Chinese women collected in this book will break your he
...more
Aisha Al-sulaiti
كتاب مرعب!!
I'm so overwhelmed!
نوع المعاملة التي تتلقها النساء في الصين لم يخطر على بالي ابداً.
الكتاب مؤلم جداً ، ويتوغل في معانات النساء الصينيات في زمن قريب (القصص التى وردت في الكتاب حدثت في ما بين الستينات والثمانينات)
. لم أبكِ في حياتي بهذا القدر بسبب كتاب.
رغم القصص الموجعة إلا أن الكتاب حوى قصصاً ايجابية استطاعت النساء التغلب فيها على ظروفهن، تكلم عن الحب ، والامل، والعلاقات الانسانية.
كنت اظن دائما بأن مكانة النساء ممتازة في الصين الحديثة، كنت مخطئة.
انصح بالكتاب لمن يحبون التعرف على الثقافا
...more
Khansa alsanea
Nov 11, 2015 Khansa alsanea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
كم هو محزن وأليم هذا الكتاب الرائع بما يحتويه من العديد من حكايات واقعية لنساء من الصين عانينا الكثير في مجتمع متخلف ذكوري يدعي الثورة الثقافية والمساواة بين الشعب .
اعجبني كثيراً بالرغم من كمية الالم والمراره التي شعرت بها وانا اقرأ هذا الكتاب جعلني اردد دائماً في داخلي الحمـْْـْْْـَِِْْـَِـََِِـدللـْْـْْْـَِِْْـَِـََِِـه على نعمة الاسلام .
لا انصح بقراءته لذوات القلوب الضعيفة من النساء



26-5-2015
Jessica
Jan 29, 2008 Jessica rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
While the stories exemplifying the plight of women in China are interesting, as is the insight into what it means to be a journalist in China, I ultimately found the book a little annoying. The author is a participant in many of the stories, and often she is a heroic participant. The story featuring the author as the object of a mentally disturbed lesbian's romantic obsession bordered on ridiculous. The author seemed to "explain" the woman's lesbianism by reference to her traumatized childhood, ...more
د. موضي النشمي
جميل انت تتعرف علي شعوب العالم،، كتاب يحتوي علي قصص من واقع المجتمع الصيني،،، يتكلم بالاخص عن المرأه الصينيه ومعاناتها بالمجتمع،،، محزن ومؤلم،،، عندما تتصور تلك الشعوب تحترم المرأه واذ تتفاجأ بالعكس،،، في النهايه،،، تكتشف ان قضايا المرأه في العالم مماثله لا تختلف الا بالاسماء والشخصيات
Thy Ngân
Jun 01, 2015 Thy Ngân rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Không có mấy cuốn sách có khả năng làm cho tôi vì ám ảnh, đau lòng mà chẳng buồn tiếp xúc với ai. Còn cuốn sách này làm được điều đó ngay từ câu chuyện đầu tiên.
Lora Grigorova
Apr 11, 2014 Lora Grigorova rated it it was amazing
The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices: http://readwithstyle.wordpress.com/20...

Reading The Good Women of China has been particularly painful – and I doubt as painful for men as it is actually for women. After the Cultural Revolution and Deng Xiaoping’s policies to open up China to the West many journalists began enjoying freedom of speech – or at least much more freedom of speech than during the Communist rule. In the 1980s Xinran, a Chinese journalist, started hosting her own radio show, Words
...more
Netts
Apr 22, 2013 Netts rated it did not like it
The stories are, as you would expect, fascinating and harrowing. The writing on the other hand is unforgivably juvenile. These women deserved better. But let's think for a moment about the type of person who would be allowed to become a journalist for state media in a repressive dictatorship. Logically, their selection would have little to do with any storytelling talent. Instead, it would hinge on being the type of conformist able to swallow and parrot propaganda without any intellectual analys ...more
Astrid Reza
Aug 21, 2007 Astrid Reza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-book-shelf
The "good women" in China, in Xin Ran stories, are not women that view as "good women" in the Chinese society. I had to do some applause for Xin Ran and those women who had shared their stories. It's wonderful and excruciating. I had never found stories as tragic as their stories. Life is just hard, but hey, they move on. They keep on living, even if it only in their own dreams. Their imagination that cannot held back by anyone. Not the government, not the society, not even the people who love t ...more
Thảo
Feb 10, 2016 Thảo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Để lại một đống cảm xúc nhưng diễn đạt kém nên viết dài ngoằng ra rồi thấy lan man quá lại xóa hết.

Trừ một sao vì sách dài quá, cảm giác hơi bội thực. Với lại nhiều đoạn trong sách cảm giác như Hân Nhiên hơi có thái độ khoe khoang về bản thân nên thấy khá khó chịu.

Đúng là, sinh ra là phụ nữ là đã khổ rồi ấy.
♥ Ashleigh ♥  contrary to popular belief im not actually mad!
I feel scrubbed raw from the inside-out. This is a mesmerising, horrendous heart-tearing read, but I'm glad i came across this book.
It's hard to imagine the short stories and lives described in this book. I'm well aware of the fact that there's injustices in this world. I live in a country we're speaking of this sort of thing is taboo, we hide the astonishing acts of crime from recent pasts and our histories from our children, it's not something taught through education, the only reason i know l
...more
Gisela Hafezparast
Mar 16, 2016 Gisela Hafezparast rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Although this book is in essence a historical depiction of China since Mao came to power, it is a very readable book. Xinran has lived, suffered, survived and prospered in this period. Her story is one of the stories she tells honestly (although there are many questions remaining) in what must have been in every sense revolutionary radio program in China of its time and to be honest, would probably still be anywhere else. I once heard Jenny Murray talk about the scathing, patronizing and revolti ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Jun 01, 2016 Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People interested in the real China
A friend recently asked me in an exasperated voice, "Why do you read so many books about China?" I couldn't help asking in my turn, "Why not?" (as in, why does it bother you so much?) but it also got me thinking. I'm tired of books "about" China, Japan, India etc written by westerners who lived there for 5 or 10 years or whatever, and think they know all about it. At last we are able to hear the voices of China in their own words, whether it be novels, memoir or other written forms. And I'm curi ...more
Kavita
Oct 16, 2015 Kavita rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, real-women, china
A collection of different true stories from different women, this book is written with the aim of bringing lost voices of Chinese women to the world. In spite of the emancipation of women due to communism, and in spite of the fact that most Chinese women work in positions equal to that of men, there still exists an enormous gender bias in Chinese society.

This book explores the stories of women during the Cultural Revolution. I had no idea it was so bad! There are many stories of women being sol
...more
Ingrid
Nov 05, 2012 Ingrid added it
No rating.
I know, I know. "What? No rating?"

But, this is a biography. In this book are true stories of women's lives. How can I rate someone's life? Especially when it is filled with pain and trauma? The answer is simple. I cannot.

I did not enjoy this book much. The translation was poor and the narrator came across as frightfully naive. Those aren't really the main reasons though. Despite them, I couldn't put the book down. I was engrossed. I simply did not like this book because of how dark
...more
J.D. Carabella
Mar 10, 2016 J.D. Carabella rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is astounding - but it will rip your heart out. These are real stories from real women from a society in which many of them don't get a fair chance. I remember just sitting there blubbering at the pain and suffering some of these women went through. But there is hope and a strength that should be witnessed and recognized.
Magnuslu
Jan 22, 2014 Magnuslu rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-english
The title is misleading. It should have been "The Suffering Women of China". It is one story after the other about women that have been prevented from living a reasonable life because of men (fathers, boyfriends, husbands or mere thugs), cultural expectations and political priorities. By highlighting some of these very bad experiences, we do get one view into the lives of Chinese women, however we should not make the mistake to think that it represents a sample of a majority. It is more than pro ...more
Mina Soare
An artless collection of very unhappy stories, which could easily challenge both George R.R. Martin or de Sade in their areas.

The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices is in many ways reminiscent of Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China : the first-person female narrator, the overlapping cultural settings, the focus on the life of Chinese women, the subtitle. It can be easily compared to the famous bestseller, although not for the best reasons.

Works of an autobiographical nature walk a fine line b
...more
Bach Tran Quang
Oct 28, 2014 Bach Tran Quang rated it it was amazing
Chấn động, và không thể nào quên.

Lần đọc trước tôi chưa có con gái, chưa hiểu được hết. Giờ tôi đọc lại, thấm thía hơn bgio hết. Như mọi cuốn sách khác, tôi sẽ note vài dòng nho nhỏ, nhưng với cuốn này, tôi sẽ viết review thật nghiêm cẩn. Post lên goodreads sau. Tôi thay đổi từ 4 sao lên thành 5 sao, lý do vì Hân Nhiên quá dũng cảm khi viết tác phẩm này. Và tôi mong đàn ông, nhiều người đọc được nó hơn, còn đàn bà, đọc nó để yêu mình hơn.

Xót xa và cay đắng quá!
Alessandra
Feb 17, 2016 Alessandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
É muito, muito, muito difícil avançar com a leitura desse livro, e mais difícil ainda é parar para lembrar que todas essas histórias, que beiram a ficção de tão absurdas, são reais. Termino a releitura com ânsia de vômito e enorme vontade de chorar, mas apesar da leitura pesada, recomendo a todos esse livro. O sofrimento dessas mulheres não pode ser esquecido. Quantas mais irão sofrer nas mãos cruéis do homem?
Kelley
Sep 05, 2015 Kelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because of participating in a "Scrambled Authors Challenge," for which I needed an "X" author. This challenge "forced" me to explore many new authors. I'm glad I chose Xinran for "x".

I found what little I know of Chinese culture to be true: sons are preferred; women must put themselves aside for everyone in their lives, especially husbands. What I knew little about was China as a Communist nation and the effect that had had on women. As a result of reading this, I would li
...more
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Xue Xinran, who usually writes as simply "Xinran", was a radio broadcaster in China before moving to Great Britain and beginning to publish books. She currently writes as a columnist.
More about Xinran...

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“Everybody says women are like water. I think it's because water is the source of life, and it adapts itself to its environment. Like women, water also gives of itself wherever it goes to nurture life....” 22 likes
“I received no praise for the rescue of this girl, only criticism for "moving the troops about and stirring up the people" and wasting the radio station's time and money. I was shaken by these complaints. A young girl had been in danger and yet going to her rescue was seen as "exhausting the people and draining the treasury". Just what was a woman's life worth in China?” 7 likes
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