Book Review: Empress Dowager Cixi by Jung Chang

Earlier this month, I was pretty harsh on Anchee Min’s The Last Empress. And rightly so. Her boring, flat characterization of one of China’s most controversial leaders was hugely disappointing. Jung Chang succeeds where Min failed. Even though Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China is a non-fiction account, the story of Cixi’s Read More

Mothers and Daughters in Tan's "The Valley of Amazement"

EVER since “The Joy Luck Club” burst onto the literary scene in 1989, Amy Tan’s name has been synonymous with Asian literature. Even though many other authors such as Anchee Min and Lisa See have also found massive audiences, success in the Asian literature market wouldn’t have been possible without Tan. Tan is possibly the Read More

Book Review: Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama

Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama is a novel about women who worked in a silk factory in rural southern China from the 1920s to the beginnings of the Japanese invasion in the mid-1930s. I picked up this book because I am very interested in the way silk was processed in China in pre-industrial Read More

Book Review: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See is about many things: a girl growing up in rural China in the 19th century; foot binding; nushu; arranged marriages; friendship; a woman’s place in the world; refection; regret. To try and sum-up what the book is about would not do it justice; to talk about Read More