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librarylover said:
Just finished tonight. I cannot remember when I wept so many time through a novel. How proud Lisa See can be, to have done this. This book has perfect timing, there is not, I swear, one unecessary word, and in the midst of this tale that is more like sorrowful poetry, she managed to teach me more of the culture of Imperial China than I think a dozen history or anthropology books might have. When a novel can function on so many levels the way this one does, you have to tip your hat to the author. And then, in giving me, a western woman of European stock, this education in the specifics of a very foreign culture, she begins to show me the human universals, about how humans always seem to f*** up love, and how it sears us with its irreplacable qualities. And also, this to me, foreign culture, that places so many constraints on its women-folk as to make them nearly immobile, has a place, and a name, and customs for something we may have experienced (I know I did) as girls in the west, but had no social underpinning for: the laotong relationship between girls who grew into it together; a special and passionate bonding of deep love between females that is theirs alone, as all powerful as the males are in that society, the laotong relationship is sacrosanct. I was and am amazed at that. The slow maturation and inner acceptance of the narrator, Lily,gives me the idea that I have long to go before I may call myself anything close to wise. Her totally honest assessment of herself comes late in her life, but she gets there, having been given the blessing of traveling the full arc of her life. Yet getting there, she knows how she failed and who she failed, that’s the part that makes me flinch, because haven’t we all? A book like this one just doesn’t happen often enough, but the fact that this one came through at all is a cause for celebration.
posted Jul 27, 2007 at 11:40AM
Barb said:
I really enjoyed this book. The writing makes you feel as though you are living Lily’s experiences along with her even though I know nothing of her culture.
posted Jun 3, 2008 at 6:49PM
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