Bound Feet & Western Dress by Pang-Mei
Anchor Books, 1997; ISBN: 0385479646.
The daughter of a distinguished family, Yu-i was born at the turn of the century in China, and grew up between the fall of the last emperor and the Communist Liberation of China. This is the story of her personal struggle with the constant tug between familial duty and individual desire.
Daughter of Han by Ida Pruitt & Ning
Stanford Univ Press, 1990; ISBN: 0804706069
Ida Pruitt's biography of Ning Lao T'ai-t'ai (literally "old lady Ning"), a peasant woman of northeast China born in 1867, is an anecdotal retelling of Ning's personal history as she related it to the author over the course of their two year long friendship. To survive and feed her children Ning must become first a beggar, then a servant to various households: military, Muslim, bureaucrat, and finally to Christian missionaries. And Ning speaks against concubinage and prostitution, about the penury of employers, the need to support and keep family together.
Diary of a Madman and Other Stories by
University of Hawaii Press, 1990; ISBN: 0824813170
Lu Xun is often considered to be one of the greatest of Chinese fiction writers and is touted for his eloquent and beautiful language. His stories are glimpses into the lives of ordinary Chinese struggling to survive in difficult times and despite an often corrupt system.
Falling Leaves: The True Story of an Unwanted
Chinese Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah
Broadway Books, 1999; ISBN: 0767903579
Mah’s memoir of life in China, before and after the 1949 revolution, is a chronicle of the emotional abuse she received from her father and his beautiful, but vicious, second wife. Through Chinese proverbs Mah conveys the traditional Chinese worldview that prompted the subservience of women and fostered the belief that daughters were worthless.
The Family by Li Fei-kan Pa Chin
Waveland Press, 1988; ISBN: 0881333735
Popular in China during the May 4th movement this is an absorbing account of one family in early 20th century China, through whose generational conflicts we can see the larger conflicts about to engulf the nation. The Kao family, five generations living in one complex is headed by the father, Master Kao, an autocrat unwilling and unable to admit that his country and his family are changing before his eyes. His three sons seem to represent a cross section of Chinese attitudes, behaviors, and hopes during post-Imperial revolutionary chaos.
Raise the Red Lantern by Su Tong
Penguin USA, 1996; ISBN: 0140260307
Three novellas of a disturbing intensity--including "Raise the Red Lantern," the basis of an acclaimed 1991 film. Set in provincial China of the 1930's, all three stories evoke a place where a concubine might have attended college and a landlord's son might have learned to play tennis at his boarding school--but where the harsh old ways still prevail.
Red Azalea by Anchee Min
Berkley Publishing Group, 1995; ISBN: 0425147762
Min’s heart-wrenching memoir of herself as a young Chinese schoolgirl and as a distinguished young Communist tells how, during the Cultural Revolution, she denounced her own friends.
Spider Eaters: A Memoir by Rae
University of California Press, 1998; ISBN: 0520215982
Yang's memoir is of her girlhood torn between two worlds, that of her loyalty to the Communist Party, and that of her parents and friends. She tells the tale of China's most violent days, during the Cultural Revolution, together with her own struggle to respect party authority in light of its high-handed and destructive campaigns.
The Attic: Memoir of a Chinese Landlord's Son
by Guanlong Cao & Nancy Moskin (trans.)
University of California Press, 1998; ISBN: 0520204069
Cao's lean elegant prose creates a moving autobiographical account of daily life in urban Shanghai in during the forty turbulent years following the Communist Liberation.
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
by Jung Chang
Anchor World Views, 1992; ISBN: 0385425473
Jung Chang tells the story of three generation of Chinese women—her grandmother as a warlord’s concubine, her mother in the Communist movement, and herself—from the end of the Qing dynasty to the Sun Yatsen years, through the Liberation, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution—dealing with personal survival in a country in constant flux.