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Women of the Silk: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Gail Tsukiyama
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.21
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Book Description

In Women of the Silk Gail Tsukiyama takes her readers back to rural China in 1926, where a group of women forge a sisterhood amidst the reeling machines that reverberate and clamor in a vast silk factory from dawn to dusk. Leading the first strike the village has ever seen, the young women use the strength of their ambition, dreams, and friendship to achieve the freedom they could never have hoped for on their own. Tsukiyama's graceful prose weaves the details of "the silk work" and Chinese village life into a story of courage and strength.

Product Description


"Enlivened with an engrossing richness of detail, "Women of the Silk" provides a revealing look at the life and customs of China . . . succinct and delicate."--"The New York Times Book Review" "Evocative . . . warm-hearted."--"Washington Post Book World" "A soft ring of feminism . . . languorous, almost dreamlike quality."--"Booklist" "One of the lovliest first novels published this year."--"San Francisco Chronicle" "A first novel exceptional for its exquisite writing and for its rich portrait of a woman's life in a China now lost. Her story is rendered with exceptional grace, with the clear, shining dignity of legend or song; Tsukiyama lends her voice to figures of women emboldened by their dream of growth and personal power."--"Ingram"

About the Author

Born to a Chinese mother and a Japanese father in San Francisco, Gail Tsukiyama now lives in El Cerrito, California. Her novels include "Dreaming Water, The Language of Threads," "The Samurai's Garden," and "Night of Many Dreams."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 594 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312099436
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Reprint edition (1 April 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005EYXA1S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #201,901 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Gail Tsukiyama's beautifully written book is the poignant story of life in rural China in the 1920's. The characters are so finely crafted that the reader feels every emotion -- the joy, the heartbreak, the drudgery, and the intense friendship of women drawn together by the bond of the silk factory. Gail Tsukiyama is a true artist, using her pen to draw detailed pictures which will stay in the mind of the reader long after the final page has been reluctantly turned.

A novel by Gail Tsukiyama is a rare treat which would best be savored slowly, if only the storyline was not so compelling!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel of loss, hope and courage. 26 May 1998
By A Customer
If there is anything that makes a vow of celibacy attractive it is this novel. The characters of the novel, despite their cold exterior and deep traditional values, evoke strong emotions in the reader.
Pei, the protagonist, is sold into the Silk Workers' Sisterhood where she learns the value of female friendship, independence and communal bond. The girls' home is a center of support where the residents receive constant nurturing from each other, learn endurance, and give love.
Pei eventually chooses to enter the "hairdressing" ceremony, where she and her friend Lin enter the women's home choosing celibacy over the traditional norm of marriage and children. Their argument against marriage is a logical one--afterall, most marriages they see in their immediate surrounding imprisons the women into a life of servitude and pain.
In the end, Pei faces a turning point in her life. She is only around 27 years old, she has lost all who had been important to her and she's fleeing the Japanese invaders. As she embarks on a trip to Hong Kong, we know that there is no need for us to wonder; she has the strength to pull through and make a new life for herself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life and Friendships of a Silk Worker 3 Nov. 2009
In rural China difficulties with the harvest coupled with the birth of yet another daughter force Pao to accompany his inquisitive,lively eight-year-old daughter Pei to work in the silk factory. Here, despite initially feeling abandoned by her family and a great loneliness, she begins to forge friendship with those who live with her at the girl's house. Her best friend becomes Lin.
As she matures Pei understands that being a silk worker gives her a freedom that would have been impossible to have had if she had remained with her family. At 16 Pei decides that she will never marry and with Lin joins the Sisterhood, the unmarried women who devote their lives to Silkworking, through the "Hairdressing Ceremony".
Due to the depression in the 1930's a deterioration in the working conditions and hours of the silk workers brings them to the decision to strike in 1932. In the background, however, we also become aware of the threats of Japanese invasion which become a nightmare reality and in 1938 we leave Lin who is now fleeing to Hong Kong.
The book spans a period of time from 1919 to 1938 in Pei's life.
This book is well researched and a very interesting perspective on all women, but in particular the silk workers, and culture in rural China. The Silk workers were considered "different" and eyed suspiciously by all; Despite this and the difficulties of their work they consider themselves lucky as they were able to have both the freedom and financial security that gave them not only the opportunity to maintain their families but also have money for themselves.
This is in stark contrast with the life they would have had if they had remained with their family.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Women of The Silk 19 Nov. 2011
Very interesting to learn about this aspect of chineese culture where children as young as 7 were sent to work in the Silk factories. Some children never saw their families again though their 'wages' were sent home. Once established and over the shock of having to leave their families some of the girls had happy lives and a freedom they would not experience within the family environment. Many married and continued to support their own or husbands families some dedicated themselves to the 'sisterhood'. An excellent book. I can recommend it.
The book itself is in very good condition. Thank you.
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