China -- fiction

Waiting

By Ha Jin

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An ambitious and dedicated Chinese doctor, Lin Kong, finds himself torn between two very different women -- the educated and dynamic nurse with whom he has fallen in love, and the traditional, meek, and humble woman to whom his family married him when they were both very young.
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The Binding Chair, or, A Visit From the Foot Emancipation Society

By Kathryn Harrison

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"Set in alluring Shanghai at the turn of the century,The Binding Chairintertwines the destinies of a Chinese woman determined to forget her past and a Western girl focused on the promises of the future. Beautiful, charismatic, destructive, May escapes an arranged marriage in rural nineteenth-century China for life in a Shanghai brothel, where she meets Arthur, an Australian ... a member of the Foot Emancipation Society..."
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Snow Country

By Yasunari Kawabata

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Follows the story of a tragic affair between a wealthy dilettante and a mountain geisha who gives herself to him without illusions or regrets, in a tale of wasted love by the Nobel Prize-winning Japanese author.

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Raise the Red Lantern

By T'ung Su

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"The brutal realities of the dark places Su Tong depicts in this collection of novellas set in 1930s provincial China -- worlds of prostitution, poverty, and drug addiction -- belie his prose of stunning and simple beauty. The title novella, 'Raise the Red Lantern,' which became a critically acclaimed film, tells the story of Lotus, a young woman whose father's suicide forces her to become the concubine of a wealthy merchant. Crushed by loneliness, despair, and cruel treatment, Lotus finds her descent into insanity both a weapon and a refuge.

 

'Nineteen Thirty-Four Escapes; is an account of a family's struggles during one momentous year; plagued by disease, death, and the shady promise of life in a larger town, the family slowly disintegrates.

Finally, 'Opium Family' details the last years of a landowning clan whose demise is brought about by corruption, lust, and treachery -- fruits of the insidious crop they harvest.

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Bittersweet

By Leslie Li

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"...tells the life story of Li Xuewen, wife of the first democratically elected vice president of China, who began her life as the unwanted fourth daughter of a peasant farmer and rose in prestige and fortune to become the number one wife of a brilliant military hero. Her story reveals a scope of history and changes in Chinese culture that few Westerners have glimpsed. Inspired by the events of her grandmother's life, the author engages the reader in an engrossing novel about love and war, and the indomitable spirit of a woman determined to keep her family and self-respect intact."
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Becoming Madame Mao

By Anchee Min

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"Madame Mao is almost universally known as the "white-boned demon" -- ambitious, vindictive, and cruel -- whose bid to succeed her husband led to the death of millions. But Min's story begins with a young girl named Yunhe, the unwanted daughter of a concubine who ignored her mother's pleas and refused to have her feet bound. It was the first act of rebellion for this headstrong, beautiful, and charismatic girl. She later fled the miseries of her family life, first to a provincial opera troupe, then to Shanghai and fame as an actress, and finally to the arid, mountainous regions of Yenan, where she fell in love with and married Mao Zedong. The great revolutionary leader proved to be an inattentive husband with a voracious appetite for infidelity, but the couple stayed together through the Communist victory, the disastrous Great Leap Forward, and the chaos of the Cultural Revolution."
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Rabbit's Gift: A Fable from China

By George Shannon

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Snow is coming, coming soon, so Rabbit needs to find food fast. Just in time, a turnip turns up, and a second one, too. Who in the woods wouldn't want to tuck away an extra turnip for the long winter? Not Rabbit. He chooses a different path--and starts a wave of generosity that spreads among all his forest friends.

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