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Butcher's Wife, The (Peter Owen Modern Classic) Paperback – 1 Jul 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Owen; New edition edition (1 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 072061161X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0720611618
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 775,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed the translation of the butchers wife having read it in Chinese a few month back and I wanted to read it in English as a comparison. I chose this book for discussion for an international womens' book club. I thought the translation was excellent even though some of the ideas were potentially difficult to bring across. The themes and different moods of the book were well captured. A must read for anyway interested in Asian womens' writing from this period and interested to explore the link with violence, exploitation and emancipation of woman.One of the most contraversial books to have been published in Taiwan and interesting to put in historical context.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Intense 16 Sept. 2012
By Kit Welsh - Published on
Format: Paperback
So this isn't exactly what I'd call a happy book. And by "this isn't exactly what I'd call a happy book," I mean it's depressing as all get out. I totally recommend it, but be warned, the book contains graphic details of rape, abuse, violence and gore. If you can't handle any of those items, I'd sit this one out.

Li Ang, the auther of the Butcher's Wife was inspired by the story real murder committed in the 1930's. According to traditional Chinese society, a woman who has killed her husband must have committed the murder due to her having committed an extramarital affair. The Butcher's Wife seeks to disprove that notion, giving us an idea of what kind of abuse might push someone to that edge.

Books like this one are important to remind us how society can fail certain people. The protagonist, Lin Shi, has absolutely zero resources available to her. She is trapped in her marriage by her ignorance and by her communities ignorance, as well as slut shamed by her neighbors for constant rape at the hands of her husband. As an American audience, it is very easy to separate ourselves from her life and say that Taiwan is oh so very far away, but the truth is, abuse happens everywhere, in a myriad of different ways. Books like this can reflect a very sad reality and point out common weaknesses everywhere. While it is an important read, I have to say, I was very glad it was a novella and not longer than it was, or I probably would not have made it all the way through. At its core, it is the portrayal of the destruction of a young woman, and as I said at the beginning, it's not exactly cheerful stuff. Excellent work, however.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
well written 21 Nov. 2008
By Jenny :) - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This story was well written but the characters were so morbid and unusual that it left me feeling disturbed after I finished the book. You can't help but analyze and wonder about the characters and what they could have done differently and why they behaved they way they did. It also gives you a good look at Taiwanese superstitions, village culture, stereotypes, and characteristics of the time period. It's a very interesting and strange story.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
great book 6 Nov. 2012
By Dirk Kraaijenbos - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A true story, very brutal and vivid, strong personalities in difficult times, I really liked it a lot and will read it again.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Cruel! 1 May 2000
By Emily Zeltwanger - Published on
Format: Paperback
I felt terrible for Lin Shi, a young Taiwanese girl in this book, when I read it. I felt terrible that anyone would have to live a life like this. I cannot imagine having an arranged marriage, let alone an arranged marriage from someone who didn't care about me. She is forced to marry a pig butcher and the abuse he puts her through is terrible. She is a vegetarian and I thought that played a big part in the story. He treats her terribly and makes her do things she doesn't want to, and she is driven to madness and finally murders her husband. The reality of the cruelty in this book will just send shivers up your back.
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