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The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts Paperback – 9 Aug 2002
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This is a delightful book . . . tells more than I ever imagined about the strangeness of being Chinese and a woman; it also gives a superb account of what it's like simply to be alive (Victoria Radin New Society)
A strange, enchanting book . . . As a manual of self-discovery through the channels and terrors of one's own rejected communal memory, it is unbeatable (Guardian)
As a dream - of the "female avenger" - it is dizzying, elemental, a poem turned into a sword . . . reimagining the past with such dark beauty, such precision and anger that you feel you have saddled the Tao dragon and see all through the fiery eye of God (John Leonard New York Times)
A book of fierce clarity and originality (Newsweek)
It [has] crossed cultural boundaries and fused literary genres in startlingly original ways (Guardian) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘One of the books of the decade’ TimeSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
The book is divided into five parts which mostly contain stories about the narrators family life and the cultural differences between her parents (who were born in China) and their children (first generation Americans.)
I did struggle with the first couple of stories in this book and in particular the second chapter which was titled 'The White Tiger'. It took me a while to get used to the narration which seemed to change quite suddenly from the past to the present and I had trouble getting a sense of the characters that were introduced. The White Tiger told the story of a Chinese legend (from reading it I would say this sounded like Mulan but I could be wrong) of a female warrior who takes her fathers place during battle. I struggled with this section of the book and it just seemed out of place within the family stories, I'm afraid I couldn't really see why this chapter was in there but this could be because of ignorance on my part.
The last three stories I loved. Perhaps I had gotten used to the writing style or perhaps its because the stories started to focus on her families experiences as imigrants, but I found the last three chapters flowed and I found them interesting and highly enjoyable. It interested me that the narrator is torn between Chinese culture and the culture that she was born into. Although she is torn between the two cultures, she tries to embrace both which sometimes bring her into conflict with her parents.
While there are some funny moments in the book there are also shocking moments as the narrator relays stories about the treatment of girls in China as told to her by her mother. Her mother is quite a prominent character in most of the stories and her story of how she came to America from China and what life was like back in China is often referred back to throughout.
This book has won several awards, and Time even called it "one of the books of the decade", but I think this is because it was written at a time (1977) when there was precious little writing coming out of or about China, and also about the experience of being a Chinese immigrant. Now we have a slew of writers both iin China and outside, writing about the Chinese-American experience and the stories of how tough it was to be a girl in China.
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