Friday, June 26, 2009

Notable books about China

Lisa See's most recent book is Shanghai Girls.

For Powell's, she named several books that "have made me think about China in new ways, pressed me to be more critical (and sometimes more forgiving) of the country, have captured a moment or a subject in a unique way, or have knocked my socks off with the audacity of the subject or the skill of the writer."

A few of the books to make the grade:
Women Writing in Modern China: An Anthology of Literature by Chinese Women from the Early 20th Century edited by Amy D. Dooling and Kristina M. Torgeson: Often in the West, we are told that in the past there were no women writers. But of course there were! Only so much of what they wrote has been lost, forgotten, or deliberately covered up. China has a different tradition. There were a lot of women writers who have remained in print not only in China but also in this country. There are several anthologies of Chinese women writers. The Red Brush is probably the most comprehensive, and covers over 2,000 years of women writing in China. (Try to beat that, Western canon!) I also like The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature, but my favorite is Women Writing in Modern China, which covers the early 20th century. These women write about the same things women write about today — love, children, family, heartbreak, war, the economy, and all the things that bind us together as human beings.
Read about more books on See's list.

Also see 2008's best China books and Five Good Short Books on China.

Check out Lisa See's interview with Kate Merkel-Hess at The China Beat.

The Page 99 Test: Lisa See's Peony in Love.

--Marshal Zeringue