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Wild Ginger Paperback – 1 May 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 217 pages
  • Publisher: The Women's Press Ltd (1 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0704347466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0704347465
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 499,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Joanne Nickerson on 4 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is fantastic, I could not put it down!Although historically remarkable, intensely moving and erotic, at heart this book is based on the friendship between two girls, Wild Ginger and Maple. Set agianst the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution this book describes in detail what life in china was like whilst Chairman Mao was in power and how none-Mao supporters were diciplined & executed. It really is a heart-wrenching tail of a girls battle for survival and her desire to be accepted. From war to intense bullying in a time where sexual relations are forbidden, both Maple and Wild Ginger fall for the same man, Evergreen. Wild Ginger denies her desire for him but Maple has other ideas! When Maple and Evergreen decide to take off together, Maple (...and the reader!) underestimate Wild Ginger's feelings and what she will do to stop them....!
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By B Murphy on 7 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book starts poorly however very quickly ramps up, I'd say it is very moving in parts it is almost a coming of age story bit set against the Chinese revolution. Some of the taboos and the backdrop which it is set about seem incredibly realistic and heart wretching in feelings.
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By R on 4 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Love Anchee Min books and was pleased to find this one i had not read yet. Fast service so thanks
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 40 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
As good as Red Azalea 7 April 2002
By Candace Siegle, Greedy Reader - Published on
Format: Paperback
From the time Maple meets her in elementary school, Wild Ginger has always been singled out for a particular kind of torture because of her "foreign colored" eyes. This gives the girls something in common because the Red Guards have been making Maple's life a living hell because her father is in prison.
Anchee Min writes of China's Cultural Revolution with a restraint that makes the spiritual cost of such repression all the more horrific. As Maple and Wild Ginger grow, they see that the only way for them to survive is to become model Maoists, to pin all their hopes and deeds on the Great Leader. When Wild Ginger and a young man named Evergreen discover emotions that have no place in the Chairman's little red book, all three of them risk complete destruction.
Don't be deceived. Min leaves no doubt that this will not be a "triumph of the human spirit" story in the way most will expect it. In fact, the human spirit may not triumph at all. But you will keep reading, your heart aching for these girls, their young friend, and anyone who has to pass through this kind of daily gauntlet in order to survive.
Anchee Min's last novel, "Becoming Madame Mao" was a bestseller and a fine piece of work. But my favorite is her first novel, "Red Azalea," which broke new ground with its straightforward description of an ordinary girl during the Cultural Revolution. Min knows that there is no need to elaborate on these stories; simply relating them as if they were the most ordinary thing in the world is more devastating than embellishment.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Love and politics in during China's cultural revolution 26 Oct. 2002
By Linda Linguvic - Published on
Format: Paperback
This story is about two friends growing up during those recent awful times in China when family background could earn you a beating from sadist classmates. That's how Maple, the first person narrator, met Wild Ginger. Together they fought the class bully, and together they studied Maoism. Wild Ginger, however, whose father was a foreigner, had a harder time than Maple. But the abuse she endured even pulled her more strongly into Maoism. Eventually she rose in the party. And when a young man developed a romantic interest in her, a triangle developed that included her friend Maple. That's when the events take a more tragic turn.
From the very first page, I was immediately swept up in the story, which was set against the background of the horrors of Maoism. Here was history come alive through the eyes of the people, each one so beautifully developed that even the minor characters became unique individuals. There is not a wasted word and the tightly crafted sentences, juxtaposed with quotations from Mao's writings, brought me right into the heart of China. I felt the political fervor as well as the frustrations and depravations of living through that unique time.
I loved this book. I read it quickly, and had a hard time putting it down. Highly recommended.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Freedom is Slavery 2 Aug. 2002
By CR - Published on
Format: Paperback
Adults are terrified to curb the impulses of sadistic children for fear of being branded an anti-Maoist. Children denounce their own parents and citizens are executed, tortured or sentenced to labor camps for life for the most arbitrary of political `crimes' or for having the misfortune of being descended from the wrong social class. The entire community is forced to attend marathon mass rehearsals in freezing weather for Mao quotation singing rallies. The only words that are safe to speak are Mao's own, which the children spend most of their school days memorizing and chanting endlessly. George Orwell's 1984 sounds like a walk in the park compared to China in the midst of the Cultural Revolution.
Against this totalitarian nightmare of a backdrop the reader is introduced to the title character through the eyes of Maple, a kind natured child. Wild Ginger is tainted because she is ¼ French, and she is ostracized and loses everything as a child because of it. Through sheer will and a singlemindedness to become the best Maoist ever she rises in the party and ascends to power. Being a perfect Maoist leaves no room for marriage, love or humanity, though, and when she and another rising Maoist fall in love tragedy results.
The author survived the Cultural Revolution, and her experiences lend a chilling authenticity to this story.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Interesting Tale of Love and Devotion 26 Feb. 2006
By Kelly Houser - Published on
Format: Paperback
Anchee Min's "Wild Ginger" recounts the tale of Maple, a young Chinese girl living in China during the rule of Mao Tse Tung. Under the control of the Red Guard, Maple's school life is difficult. She has no friends to speak of and her home life isn't much better. Her father is in a work camp, sent there by Maoists who thought he wasn't devoted enough. Maple's family is extremely poor because of the low wage the work camp pays her father.

When Maple meets Wild Ginger, most of her problems seem to fall away. The two girls become fast friends and Maple learns that Wild Ginger's life is as difficult as her own. Wild Ginger's father was a Frenchman who was convicted of being a spy. Her mother, a good but weak woman, commits suicide not long after Maple and Wild Ginger meet. Wild Ginger is forced to care for herself and devotes all of her time to studying the teachings of Mao and making a living in the fish market. When a fortunate series of events turns Wild Ginger into a national heroine, Maple couldn't be happier for her friend. But soon, Wild Ginger's fierce devotion to Mao and the Red Guard threaten to drive apart the two young girls.

This novel was quite good. I am a fan of Anchee Min's. I find her writing style to be sort of intoxicating. The reader becomes drunk on the beautiful fluidity of her writing. "Wild Ginger" was an interesting glimpse into what it must have been like to be a teenage during the reign of Mao Tse Tung, but also reveals that all teenagers share the same heartbreaks, Chinese or otherwise.

I would definitely recomend this novel.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Beyond Description 23 Mar. 2002
By Bruce Dailey - Published on
Format: Paperback
The best book I've ever read was Anchee Min's personal memoir, Red Azalea, so forgive me if this is a biased review.
I lucked out today and picked up a reserved copy of Wild Ginger (it's not supposed to be out for another two weeks) and spent the evening devouring it. Without having the craft of describing thoughts as the author does I feel inadequate to review this book but I feel compelled to do so anyway, while trying to give none of the story away.
Anchee Min has an amazing rawness, honesty and passion that is at the same time simplistic (although to say it is simple is, I think, demeaning) and penetrating. She doesn't seem to build up the plot or the characters as most novelists do to make the drama more intense. Rather she lets the personalities and storylines speak for themselves - which I would say is an understatement because this is one of her outstanding talents, but I don't know how else to say it.
This is the most realistic fiction I've ever read. She's certainly bringing real memories and experiences into play and the effect is like reading a fascinating memoir. The book is alive from beginning to end.
This a candid look at the personal side of China's Cultural Revolution. Although focused highly around Mao's teachings and the effects they had on the people, it goes much deeper as do her other books, getting deep into personalities, ideas, passions, friendships, love, families, regrets and so on..... so that people with little interest or knowledge of this era can still find it a gripping, delightful work of art.
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