Top critical review
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on 19 September 2009
Despite being half Chinese myself and having shelves of Chinese literature, I have now twice tried to get through this book and twice failed. She tells dark stories told to her by her mother and relates them to her life - long convoluted fairy stories of Mu Lan and half-told stories of her dead aunt. Half-way through there is little of her modern-day life at all, thought this is supposed to be autobiographicial, although glancing further on in the book there seems at least to be more.
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.