The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds
Amidst the smells of chillies and garlic frying, Chye Hoon begins to appreciate the richness of her traditions, eve ...more
But don't let that spoil your picking up this book. If you have patience and love actual family pattern of cultural connec ...more
Set in Malaysia in the 1870's through the 1940's, this novel was quite a feat. Dealing with the Nyonya and Baba tradition, this no ...more
This is like being in a room with a master artist who, in the beginning, stands before a blank canvas. She begins with the first stroke of words and smoothly moves on to the next, painting, you are not sure what. The mastery of her medium makes you want to ride the journey she is taking you on, word by word, scene by scene. You can smell the food, see the landscape, palpate the characters. The art is rich and flowing, smooth and masterful. The journey becomes a ...more
This is an historical fiction novel set between the 1870s and the 1940s in Malaysia. In this area of Malaysia at the time it was common for people to be of mixed ethnic heritage. But now the British have started to establish a presence. Towns and cities are growing. Chye Hoon's father decides to learn English and move the family to a larger city to get ahead. Although she is smart, she is not able to go to school. She is headstrong and not beautiful so stays unmarried for a long time be ...more
The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds is the perfect kind of book to my mind. It’s a first-person account (fictional, based on the author’s ancestors) of a woman’s life from childhood to death. It covers day-to-day life and those small decisions we make that shape our lives for years to come. Those are my favorite kinds of stories! Plus, I learned about a culture I was completely ignorant of, the Baba-Nyonya of Malaya. I really love it when I get to read a good book and I have to google stuff every...more
I feel that writing a review for this book is a daunting task, this is an incredible book- my obsession of the month. I was drawn to the eloquent writing, especially the lovely descriptions of the land- my favourite was the quiet village in Songkhla. And, I was besotted by the beautiful cultural values and Chye Hoon's strength in the face of her fears. We learn of her life which she recounts to her grand daughter, Lai Hin, a young girl so alike to herself when she was of that age: fiery ...more
But an enterprising matchmaker brings her together with a Chinese im ...more
The only thing I can see putting some readers off, is the dialogue. The author purposely has the characters who don't spe ...more
"The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds" is an epic family drama set in early 20th century Malaysia (referred to as "Malaya" in the novel; the name "Malaysia" was not adopted until 1963, after the novel has ended). The story follows the life of Chye Hoon, a woman born into a family descended ...more
This book is not ac ...more
It's a story of a woman who did her best to preserve her ancestors' heritage and to adapt to the changing times, to survive and to bring up her children while staying true to herself and never shrinking from the challenges she faced.
I really enjoy reading books about Southeast Asia of the late XIX - earl ...more
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Замечательный, насыщенный культурными деталями, погружающий в атмосферу Малайзии р ...more
But in the end it is just a collection of vignettes with only the central character to tie them together. There is no grand wisdom to impart, nor is there really closu ...more
In THE WOMAN WHO BREATHED TWO WORLDS, author Selina Siak Chin Yoke gives readers an up close and personal look at a woman who picks up her “sword” to save her family time and gain—when the males in the household couldn’t.
Let me say at the outset that I am a huge fan of family sagas and multi-generational tales. Some of my favorite books, like THE THORN BIRDS or THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH are just that. But THE WOMAN WHO BREATHED TWO WORLDS should be a lesson on how NOT to write a family saga.
First, the book focuses on one main charact ...more
The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds was a very fascinating novel, the first installment of the Malayan saga, by Selina Siak Chin Yoke. As an epic historical fiction family saga, about a Malayan-Chinese woman. The story was rich with unique cultural upbringing and vivid details about Chye Hoon’s life.
"Facing challenges in an increasingly colonial world, Chye Hoon, a rebellious young girl, must learn to embrace her mixed Malayan-Chinese identity as a ...more
Chye Hoon begins to appreciate her heritage and is eventually married to Wong Peng Choon, a Chinese man who appreciates her skills. As the two grow to know and appreciate each other, they bring ten children into the world.
But Chye Hoon does not easily move into t ...more