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The Lily Theater

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3.6  ·  Rating details ·  1,170 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
The Lily Theater is a strikingly original debut novel-an international literary sensation-based on the author's experience growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution.

When twelve-year-old Lian Shui accompanies her mother to reeducation camp, no one imagines that Lian will receive an education. But detained along with her mother are some of China's greatest thinkers
...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published November 6th 2001 by Anchor (first published January 1st 1997)
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Robin & Fo
Rating: 4/5 stars

So, this book was one of my choices for school, where we had to read 10 Dutch literature books this year.
And if it weren’t for that literature list, I would’ve probably never read this book.
I’m so glad I did.

This book was one of my favourite Dutch-literature books. I really learned a lot about China during the Mao-regime, whilst reading a story about courage, growing up and friendship. So I strongly recommend this book.

The book is stretched into four parts.

Warning: This will con
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Lucy Desmond
If there were half stars it would be a 2.5. This book is essentially about the friendship of Lian and Kim, set against the backdrop of 1970's communist China. While I found the historical and political content interesting, I was often dismayed at the lack of depth the main characters were given. I did not like either of the main characters. I could not understand them often, which I put down to the difference in cultures, as explanations seemed in short supply. I often felt that the writer was a ...more
Yuzu
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5/5
This is one of the few Dutch literary works I actually enjoyed reading. I grew up in China in a modern time but I can still recognise a lot of things. Before I read this book I don't know a lot about the Cultural Revolution, but this book seems so trust-worthy. Besides, the author did a great job in translating Chinese proverbs and poetries.
Sally Seymore
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is based on the author's own experiences while growing up in China during Mao's Cultural Revolution. She gives minute details of their lives and how the revolution impacted on them. As first castes Lian's parents get sent away to re-education camps, but Lian is fortunate to be able to go with her mother. Later she befriends a third caste, Kim; and puts so much energy and love into that relationship which ends in tragedy. It was a sad time of China's history, one which they haven't full ...more
Mandy
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interessante achtergrondinformatie over het kastesysteem en hoe dat in de praktijk gewerkt heeft, maar de ontwikkeling van de verhaallijn van de hoofdpersoon en haar beste vriendin snap ik niet helemaal. Het kon me niet blijvend vasthouden en vooral naar het einde toe vond ik het verhaal abrupte wendingen nemen. Misschien is het een boek dat je moet ontleden om het te kunnen waarderen, maar dat is helaas minder aan mij besteed.
Katie
May 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Interesting historical fiction, although a slow starter and seemed to drag towards the end.
Rita
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Historisch en politiek reuze interessant, maar mager geschreven, erbij gesleepte onwaarschijnlijkheden in het laatste deel en een idioot, abrupt einde. Hier had een redacteur toch echt vaker moeten ingrijpen.
Anna
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Dit boek verraste me. het is geschreven vanuit het perspectief van een jong meisje (Lian) tijdens de culturele revolutie in China. Ik had nog niet eerder iets over deze periode gelezen en het verhaal boeide me daarom extra. Het verhaal heeft weinig spannende wendingen en schikeffecten, en toch bleef het me boeien en bleef ik geïnteresseerd in het leven van dit jonge meisje.
Dit is waarschijnlijk mede te danken aan de verschillende locaties waar alles zich afspeelt, en de niet altijd chronologisc
...more
Sana
Nov 21, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book highlights one of the hazards of shopping at used-books bazaars; you never find a book you're looking for and instead have to settle with purchasing unfamiliar titles, only because it's way too tempting to walk away from novels selling at half price. I bought four recently, this being one.

The Lily Theatre deals with growing up during the Cultural Revolution in China and the hardships faced by the narrator and her family. From the very beginning I didn't like the narration style and un
...more
Annette
The story is about a young girl growing up during the cultural revolution in communist China (the early 70ties). Definitely a culture I'm not familiar with! For instance, I did not know that, same as in India, the social structure in China was dictated by a caste system. The same goes for the horrific, manipulating methodes Mao used to keep the population under controle (Like the use of highschool students to accuse and punish (read torture) their teachers). The historical and political content ...more
Inge Hulsker
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it
In het begin een boeiend boek. Schokkend hoe het Chinese regime elke originele gedachte de kop in drukt. Vooral interessant om te lezen hoe een jong meisje daarmee omgaat. Lian heeft duidelijk andere ideeën, en omdat ze die niet kwijt kan, begint ze te speechen tegen de kikkers in de vijver, haar 'lelietheater'.

De vriendschap tussen Lian en Kim, een meisje uit de laagste kaste is mooi en sterk, maar raakt onvermijdelijk in de problemen. De transformatie die Kim in de loop van het boek doormaakt
...more
Carol
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was an excellent book. It takes place over 3 years beginning in 1972. Lian, the narrator, is a girl about to enter her teens in the latter years of the Cultural Revolution in China. If you know little about how the Cultural Revolution affected the common people of China, this book will be a real eye-opener. It has made me want to learn more.
The book in some ways reads as if it was written by a young girl, but that may have been on purpose - after all, it is about a young girl and
...more
Laura
Sep 28, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No nyt oli hämmentävä kirja. En edes tiedä mitä siitä kirjoittaa, sen verran veti loppu jalat alta koko tarinalta.

Poliittisen historian kuvauksena kirja oli paikoitellen mielenkiintoinen, mutta alun turha aikahyppely sekoitti tarinaa kummasti, eikä lopulta oikein mikään liittynyt mihinkään, ja silti muka liittyi kaikkeen. Henkilöhahmot olivat piinaavan irrallisia, tarina paikoitellen niin pitkäveteinen, ettei meinannut luetuksi saada, mutta sitten yhtäkkiä lopuksi kuitenkin jotain täysin muuta,
...more
Nicole
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Quite enjoyed this novel.Historically it was interesting with its portrayal of the time of the cultural revolution and the subversion of intellectual freedom in Maoist China. Was similar in some ways to the Chinese Cinderella..a story which portrayed the resilience of the human spirit and determination of young girl to overcome extraordinary circumstances. This story was remarakbale because of Luan's extraordinary friendship & her ongoing willingness to stand up for her friend Kimagainst the ...more
Dirk
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Een boek dat voor mij eigenlijk twee kanten heeft. Aan de ene kant geeft het een interessante en ontluisterende blik in het China rondom de Culturele Revolutie. Ik had hier tevoren geen idee van en was op momenten aardig geschokt, en in dat opzicht heb ik een hoop van dit boek geleerd. Aan de andere kant vind ik Het Lelietheater in literair opzicht maar weinig waard. Een ergernis vormde voor mij bijvoorbeeld de vrij ongeloofwaardige wending die het verhaal naar het einde toe maakt, wat jammer is ...more
Nicole
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
this was a good book. though, not as good as falling leaves by adeline yen mah, this was a good book because it held less historical information, and was based partly on the author’s life, though not completely. i liked the fact that it wasnt text book like, and was told by a child. i was intrigued by the emphasis on class struggle and it made the war of communism a backdrop. the ending is very unexpected, develops quickly, and is similar to that of the popular japanese film battle royaledon’t w ...more
BoekenTrol
Oct 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to BoekenTrol by: woman from the book store
The comments on the back side of a book I always read with a certain suspicion. I was interested in this book, but wasn't sure I should buy it. Therefore I lent it from the library first.
I was sold immediately from the first pageI read. The colourful style of writing made me feel as if I was there when it all happened, she took me with her on her journey and I was sad when the book came to an end. I hadn't expected that, because I had no experience with Chinese authours and their way of writing
...more
Marion Cleyne
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Het Lelietheater/ The Lily theatre by Lulu Wang really impressed me a lot. I must say, it opened a complete new world for me and it was shocking, beautiful, lovely, thrilling all in one.
I feel a bit ashamed I didn't read this years earlier, like most people did. Also Lulu's later works are of great beauty.
I'm so happy I disovered her beautiful works.
Jenni
Dec 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: in-finnish
The book is great in many ways. The language is rich and beautiful, and the storyline is so interesting it's hard to put the book down at all. The description of some haunting events is at times such that it's hard to even read them. The ending however is a big disappointment. The whole Miru episode seems to belong to a completely different book, and the book feels unfinished.
Dennis
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed reading this book. The strange and (in my opinion) unlogical twist in the plot towards the end was somewhat at odds with the rest of the interesting and compelling story. Despite the disappointing plot change, still 4 stars due to the interesting setting and context (China in the 1970's) presented in a clear, absorbing literary style, with empathically prestented main characters.
Camila Vilela De Holanda
Li aos dezessete e jamais esqueci. É incrível a doçura implicitamente presente a tanto sofrimento. É importante que a gente saiba direcionar o olhar ao belo no meio do caos. Nunca vou esquecer das lúdicas expressões da autora para falar sobre a segurança da sua própria cama e da natureza do dia a dia que por vezes parece oco. Há amor.
Ema
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dit boek is heel vlot geschreven, uit de ogen v/e kind, opgroeiend in het tijdperk v/d Rode Gardisten in China... niet evident. Ik heb er erg van genoten. En het geeft goed weer in wat voor moeilijke tijd de Chinezen moesten leven (big brother is watching you)... brains waren ongehoord! Ik vraag me af hoe ze de situatie nu in deze tijden ervaren...
Marvin
Aug 10, 2009 rated it liked it
The heroine suffers under the unpredictable hardships of China's Cultural Revolution. The book focuses on a surprisingly rigid & persistent caste system even under a regime devoted to destroying it or turning it upside down.
Colleen
Jan 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
Apart from learning some more information about the Cultural Revolution and it's weird and unbelievable beliefs, the storyline left a lot to be desired.
Boring at times, didn't like the writing-style and the terribly abrupt ending was rather strange too.
Madeleine
Jul 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinerend en beklemmend verhaal over Chinees meisje dat gebukt gaat onder het juk van Mao.Ongekend wreed en veelal absurd. Mooie Chinese beeldspraak.De auteur is Chinese en heeft het in het Nederlands geschreven. Ze deed daar 7 jaar over.
An
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, fiction
Het Lelietheater: vriendschap tussen 2 meisjes van verschillende klassen tijdens de Chinese Culturele Revolutie. Het einde is wel enorm ongeloofwaardig.
Liesbeth
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was ok


Niet uitgelezen
Elize
Dec 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Good, but not brilliant.
Cindy Van de velde
Jun 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
Kom er niet doorgeworsteld ...
Cynthia
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're not bothered by the sometimes childish way of writing (half of the book is told through the eye of a child), it's a jewel.
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Chines authoress living in the Netherlands.

When she was 18 she started to study the English language. In 1985, when she was 25 she moved to the Netherlands.

Her debut in 1997 was the novel "The lily theater"She currently lives in The Hague.
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