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The Good Women of China

Hidden Voices

By

Paperback published by Anchor (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
When Deng Xiaoping’s efforts to “open up” China took root in the late 1980s, Xinran recognized an invaluable opportunity. As an employee for the state radio system, she had long wanted to help improve the lives of Chinese women. But when she was given clearance to host a radio call-in show, she barely anticipated the enthusiasm it would quickly generate. Operating within the constraints imposed by government censors, “Words on the Night Breeze” sparked a tremendous outpouring, and the hours of tape on her answering machines were soon filled every night. Whether angry or muted, posing questions or simply relating experiences, these anonymous women bore witness to decades of civil strife, and of halting attempts at self-understanding in a painfully restrictive society. In this collection, by turns heartrending and inspiring, Xinran brings us the stories that affected her most, and offers a graphically detailed, altogether unprecedented work of oral history.
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When Deng Xiaoping’s efforts to “open up” China took root in the late 1980s, Xinran recognized an invaluable opportunity. As an employee for the state radio system, she had long wanted to help improve the lives of Chinese women. But when she was given clearance to host a radio call-in show, she barely anticipated the enthusiasm it would quickly generate. Operating within the constraints imposed by government censors, “Words on the Night Breeze” sparked a tremendous outpouring, and the hours of tape on her answering machines were soon filled every night. Whether angry or muted, posing questions or simply relating experiences, these anonymous women bore witness to decades of civil strife, and of halting attempts at self-understanding in a painfully restrictive society. In this collection, by turns heartrending and inspiring, Xinran brings us the stories that affected her most, and offers a graphically detailed, altogether unprecedented work of oral history.
Product Details
Paperback (256 pages)
Published: November 11, 2003
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Anchor
ISBN: 9781400030804
Other books byXinran
  • Sky Burial

    Sky Burial
    An Epic Love Story of Tibet
    It was 1994 when Xinran, a journalist and the internationally acclaimed author of The Good Women of China, received a telephone call asking her to travel four hours to meet a woman who had just crossed the border from Tibet into China. Xinran made the trip and met the woman, called Shu Wen, who recounted the story of her thirty-year odyssey in the vast landscape of Tibet. In Sky Burial, Xinran has re-created Shu Wen’s journey, painting an extraordinary portrait of a woman and a land, each at the mercy of fate and politics. It is an unforgettable, ultimately uplifting tale of love, loss, loyalty, and survival.

    China Witness

    China Witness
    China Witness is a remarkable work of oral history that lets us see the cultural upheavals of the past century through the eyes of the Chinese who lived through them.  Xinran, acclaimed author of The Good Women of China, traveled across China seeking out the nation’s grandparents and great-grandparents, the men and women who experienced firsthand the tremendous changes of the modern era. Although many of them feared repercussions, they spoke with stunning candor about their hopes, fears, and struggles, and about what they witnessed: from the Long March to land reform, from Mao to marriage, from revolution to Westernization. In the same way that Studs Terkel’s Working and Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation gave us the essence of very particular times, China Witness gives us the essence of modern China—a portrait more intimate, nuanced, and revelatory than any we have had before.

    Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother

    Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother
    Stories of Loss and Love
    Following her internationally bestselling book The Good Women of China, Xinran has written one of the most powerful accounts of the lives of Chinese women. She has gained entrance to the most pained, secret chambers in the hearts of Chinese mothers—students, successful businesswomen, midwives, peasants—who, whether as a consequence of the single-child policy, destructive age-old traditions, or hideous economic necessity, have given up their daughters. Xinran beautifully portrays the “extra-birth guerrillas” who travel the roads and the railways, evading the system, trying to hold on to more than one baby; naïve young girl students who have made life-wrecking mistakes; the “pebble mother” on the banks of the Yangtze River still looking into the depths for her stolen daughter; peasant women rejected by their families because they can’t produce a male heir; and Little Snow, the orphaned baby fostered by Xinran but confiscated by the state. For parents of adopted Chinese children and for the children themselves, this is an indispensable, powerful, and intensely moving book. Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother is powered by love and by heartbreak and will stay with readers long after they have turned the final page.

    Miss Chopsticks

    Miss Chopsticks
    Xinran takes her readers to the heart of modern Chinese society in this delightful and absorbing tale of three peasant girls getting to grips with life in the big city. The Li sisters don’t have much education, but one thing has been drummed into them: their mother is a failure because she hasn’t managed to produce a son, and they themselves only merit a number as a name. Women, their father tells them, are like chopsticks: utilitarian and easily broken. Men, on the other hand, are the strong rafters that hold up the roof of a house. Yet when circumstances lead the sisters to seek work in distant Nanjing, the shocking new urban environment opens their eyes. While Three contributes to the success of a small restaurant, Five and Six learn new talents at a health spa and a bookshop/tearoom. And when the money they earn starts arriving back at the village, their father is forced to recognize that daughters are not so dispensable after all. As the Li sisters discover Nanjing, so do we: its past, its customs and culture, and its future as a place where people can change their lives.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
  • At nine o'clock on 3 November 1999, I was on my way home from teaching an evening class at London University's School of Oriental and African Studies.

    — submitted by Flag This Quote For Review
  • It was as if a pen had grown in my heart.

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