Search Amazon.com for lisa seeSearch Amazon.com for amy tanChinese books are so interesting because China has been through so much and much of it has been horrendous and hidden from view. Some stories are about the old Imperial system which existed for centuries and gave some stability, although everyone seemed to be either privileged or very poor. There were stories of sons who showed intellectual talent who could participate in a series of tests and change their fate. And of course, there are stories of concubines, which was the way women of beauty had their fate changed for them. I read these stories so long ago that I do not remember any titles, I am sorry to say.
Then we have the stories that come out of the Cultural Revolution which show sweeping change coupled with constant fear. There were so many ways to be denounced as an “enemy of the people” that life was precarious. The best ones I have read so far are Wild Swans; Three Daughters of China, by Jung Chang and Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress: A Novel by Dai Sijiie and Ina Rilke.
We also have the stories written by Chinese-American immigrants about why they left China and about an often less-than-idyllic life in America. Amy Tan was the first Chinese-American author that I read. If you haven’t read her books, some of which tell about her mother’s life in China, you should. They give you excellent views of life in China and the lives of Chinese in modern America. Some Amy Tan titles are: The Hundred Secret Senses, The Joy Luck Club, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, Saving Fish From Drowning and The Kitchen God’s Wife.
Lisa See is writing now and her books are also little windows into China and the Chinese in America, especially women’s experiences. I have enjoyed her books so much. Be sure to read: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls.
I envy anyone who has these wonderful books ahead of them. I can read them again, and I may, but it is never the same as the first reading. I have not heard these books on tape but they are probably available in that format and are probably equally wonderful.