At first this story swept me up but as soon as the main character meets Mao the pace slackers, the tale becomes far less interesting and the history patronising. Others may enjoy, it just wasn't for me.
Having read empress orchid, and really enjoying it, i decided to also read becoming madame mao, and was disappointed to find the writing style and story telling completely different. Although a fascinating story, i found that half way through the book, i wasn't too bothered about finishing it.
It's definitely worth a read if you want to learn more about the history of china from a different perspective, but considering the life madame mao led, its made to sound much duller than it could have been written, even when following the facts.
whilst this book is a good story. I found the way the dialogue goes from one person to another without realising it, it made some of the reading hard work. It also goes from present to past, without a break, so you are not sure just where you are in history.It does give an insight to Madame Mao, but you do need to read it carefully.
Fascinating story about Mao's wife. It is well written, and connects to the history of China very well. It is an interesting portrait of an interesting woman and I am very happy to have read it - and I would read it again. The political descriptions and discussions in the book are however sometimes to long, especially when compared to other books by Anchee Min. I assume that this has to do with who Madame Mao was and what she left behind in regards to eye witnesses, notes etc.
Anchee Min has a way of weaving stories using a lot of "real" facts which she successfully mix with fantasy, a fatastic skill to have an an author.
I will read more by Anchee Min, but "Becoming Madame Mao" is not her strongest book - or Madame Mao was a more difficult person to base a story on perhaps? I believe that the more you know about the history of China, the more interesting this book becomes though. Unfortunately a lot of history - books, documents and so forth - were of course destroyed under the "Cultural Revolution" in China in the late 60-ies, early 70-ties. Has the manipulation of history manipulated Madame Mao's background as well? One can't help but wondering...