Jamie's Reviews > The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices

The Good Women of China by Xinran
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Sep 01, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fic
Read in September, 2007

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 girl repeatedly sexually abused by her father recovers in a hospital and in incredible tenderness begins to keep the flies around her bed as pets. In the aftermath of an earthquake a girl is trapped two stories in the air between two freestanding walls, rescue workers unable to free her, her mother comforting her as she dies.

Also I am just bowled over by the genius with which these stories were edited into a series of chapters that seamlessly flow from one to the next, and the way each story is both incredibly specific but also echoes larger themes. I thought of comparing it to Studs Turkel's books (which I love) but I think this is edited even more effectively and skillfully than Studs Turkel. One of the best books I've read this year.
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03/10/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Lucie "a heart so wild" Hi Jamie, I also like to read memoirs of modern/ancient China and the Cultural Revolution, can you gave me some recommendations?^_^


Annie Vu I think my reply is a tad late but I can thoroughly recommend Wild swans by Jung Chang. It's the story of her grandmother, mother and herself. Three women belonged to very different generations that lived through one of the darkest periods in Chinese history. Being from a similar culture to Chinese I was still shocked to read through these accounts of women whose lives could have been one of my own had I been born 20 years earlier. These books left me emotionally and physically drained but I'm glad that these honest books were written. I was also recommended books by Maxine Hong Kingston but have not finished any of them yet.


Larry Bassett Six and one-half years later and still not very many men have read and reviewed this book about Chinese women.


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