The Good Women Of China: Hidden Voices Paperback – 5 Jun 2003
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Xinran's The Good Women of China continues the tradition of Chinese women writing in recent years. Jung Chang, in Wild Swans, and Aiping Mu, in Vermilion Gate, for example, have written of the effect of recent Chinese history on themselves and their families. However, both of these books, and others like them, have been by women from the upper echelons of Chinese society. What of ordinary Chinese women? How are their voices to be heard?
Xinran worked for eight years as a well-known presenter at a Chinese radio station. As a public figure, she received many letters. Most of them were from women. Moved by the stories she was hearing in the letters, she decided to go in search of more of the truths about Chinese women's lives. What she found was terrible suffering; women who had endured lengthy sexual abuse during the Cultural Revolution, women whose wretched poverty was made more miserable by the dictates of a male-centred society, women who had had their children taken from them or who had lost them in earthquakes and other natural disasters. And, amid all the suffering, she found their capacity to endure and somehow survive.
Xinran is not a diffident or modest journalist. The reader gets to hear quite a lot of people in the course of her book, telling her how honest and humane and famous she is. This is, unsurprisingly, exasperating. However, someone more modest, and with a less robust sense of her own importance and the importance of what she was doing, would not have gathered the material that she has done. She would not have gone to those places she needed to go in order to record the stories in her book. The voices of the many women to whom she listened would not have been heard. --Nick Rennision --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"These are stories that must be read" (Amy Tan)
"This is a book from deep in the heart of China. As shocking as it is revealing... An extraordinary and eye-opening read" (Jon Snow)
"Xinran's "Good Women of China" are all strong, strikingly resourceful characters who offer unforgettable insights into the past and present of Chinese women's lives" (The Times)
"The Good Women of China demands attention" (Observer)
"[Xinran] writes compassionately but unsentimentally, dramatising the stories like gripping fiction" (Daily Mail)
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I said to take your time reading the book, because parts of it will overwhelm you. It overwhelmed me. I'm Chinese by race, but a 2nd generation Malaysian citizen, and although I'm from a modern family and have not had to undergo any of the prejudices doled out to the females of a family, I have learnt through stories and traditions a bit of what the history of Chinese women are like. But that doesn't compare to what this book reveals. I've read many books which covers bad treatment of women in historic times, but this is where this book differs. This deals with now. It's shocking but true. I hope this will broaden your horizons.
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