In Lori Lansens’ astonishing second novel, readers come to know and love two of the most remarkable characters in Canadian fiction. Rose and Ruby are twenty-nine-year-old conjoined twins. Born during a tornado to a shocked teenaged mother in the hospital at Leaford, Ontario, they are raised by the nurse who helped usher them into the world. Aunt Lovey and her husband, Uncle Stash, are middle-aged and with no children of their own. They relocate from the town to the drafty old farmhouse in the country that has been in Lovey’s family for generations. Joined to Ruby at the head, Rose’s face is pulled to one side, but she has full use of her limbs. Ruby has a beautiful face, but her body is tiny and she is unable to walk. She rests her legs on her sister’s hip, rather like a small child or a doll. In spite of their situation, the girls lead surprisingly separate lives. Rose is bookish and a baseball fan. Ruby is fond of trash TV and has a passion for local history. Rose has always wanted to be a writer, and as the novel opens, she begins to pen her autobiography. Here is how she begins: I have never looked into my sister’s eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to a beguiling moon. I’ve never used an airplane bathroom. Or worn a hat. Or been kissed like that. I’ve never driven a car. Or slept through the night. Never a private talk. Or solo walk. I’ve never climbed a tree. Or faded into a crowd. So many things I’ve never done, but oh, how I’ve been loved. And, if such things were to be, I’d live a thousand lives as me, to be loved so exponentially. Ruby, with her marvellous characteristic logic, points out that Rose’s autobiography will have to be Ruby’s as well — and how can she trust Rose to represent her story accurately? Soon, Ruby decides to chime in with chapters of her own. The novel begins with Rose, but eventually moves to Ruby’s point of view and then switches back and forth. Because the girls face in slightly different directions, neither can see what the other is writing, and they don’t tell each other either. The reader is treated to sometimes overlapping stories told in two wonderfully distinct styles. Rose is given to introspection and secrecy. Ruby’s style is "tell-all" — frank and decidedly sweet. We learn of their early years as the town "freaks" and of Lovey’s and Stash’s determination to give them as normal an upbringing as possible. But when we meet them, both Lovey and Stash are dead, the girls have moved back into town, and they’ve received some ominous news. They are on the verge of becoming the oldest surviving craniopagus (joined at the head) twins in history, but the question of whether they’ll live to celebrate their thirtieth birthday is suddenly impossible to answer. In Rose and Ruby, Lori Lansens has created two precious characters, each distinct and loveable in their very different ways, and has given them a world in Leaford that rings absolutely true. The girls are unforgettable. The Girls is nothing short of a tour de force. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Lori Lansens
Publisher: Vintage Canada
Desire, virtue, courtesans (also known as sing-song girls), and the denizens of Shanghai's pleasure quarters are just some of the elements that constitute Han Bangqing's extraordinary novel of late imperial China. Han's richly textured, panoramic view of late-nineteenth-century Shanghai follows a range of characters from beautiful sing-song girls to lower-class prostitutes and from men in positions of social authority to criminals and ambitious young men recently arrived from the country. Considered one of the greatest works of Chinese fiction, The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai is now available for the first time in English. Neither sentimental nor sensationalistic in its portrayal of courtesans and their male patrons, Han's work inquires into the moral and psychological consequences of desire. Han, himself a frequent habitué of Shanghai brothels, reveals a world populated by lonely souls who seek consolation amid the pleasures and decadence of Shanghai's demimonde. He describes the romantic games played by sing-song girls to lure men, as well as the tragic consequences faced by those who unexpectedly fall in love with their customers. Han also tells the stories of male patrons who find themselves emotionally trapped between desire and their sense of propriety. First published in 1892, and made into a film by Hou Hsiao-hsien in 1998, The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai is recognized as a pioneering work of Chinese fiction in its use of psychological realism and its infusion of modernist sensibilities into the traditional genre of courtesan fiction. The novel's stature has grown with the recent discovery of Eileen Chang's previously unknown translation, which was unearthed among her papers at the University of Southern California. Chang, who lived in Shanghai until 1956 when she moved to California and began to write in English, is one of the most acclaimed Chinese writers of the twentieth century.
Author: Bangqing Han
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Category: Literary Criticism
Out of the stories heard in her childhood in Los Angeles's Chinatown and years of research, See has constructed this sweeping chronicle of her Chinese-American family, a work that takes in stories of racism and romance, entrepreneurial genius and domestic heartache, secret marriages and sibling rivalries, in a powerful history of two cultures meeting in a new world. 82 photos.
The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family
Author: Lisa See
Category: Biography & Autobiography
It was within the sensual, cinematic setting of 1930s Shanghai that traditional Chinese fashion changed forever. Call them cheongsam, qi pao, or Suzy Wong dresses—the high-collared, body-clinging, slit-to-the-thigh gowns evolved in a world of dramatic change, where Chinese citizens mingled with foreigners from such cosmopolitan cities as Tokyo, London, New York, and Moscow. In SHANGHAI GIRL GETS ALL DRESSED UP, Asian art-historian Beverley Jackson explores the city that fostered such radical cultural and social change and the daring and fashionable women—including actresses, courtesans, and showgirls—who wore these fabulous and revealing dresses. Twenty luminous photos of cheongsams and Chinese costumes from the author'¬?s collection, combined with spectacular archival photographs and art, chronicle the social life and history of a groundbreaking city and the beautiful fashions that were born within its walls. Part history and part fashionable frolic, SHANGHAI GIRL steps back in time and paints a vivid picture of a lost generation of intrigue, style, and beauty. Includes more than 100 new and vintage photographs of the city, the clothes, the Chinese cinema stars who led the trends, and the Hollywood movie queens who inspired them.Addresses the profound influence of Chinese costumes on Western fashion trends via film in the 1930s.
Author: Beverley Jackson
Publisher: Random House Digital, Inc.
A thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See explores the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been adopted by an American couple. Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives. In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people. In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city. After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations. A powerful story about a family, separated by circumstances, culture, and distance, Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond that connects mothers and daughters.
Author: Lisa See
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
“Duncan Jepson magically inhabits the life of a young Chinese woman in 1930s Shanghai….I thoroughly enjoyed this book.” —Janice Y. K. Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Piano Teacher “Breathtaking….A great work that will move its readers.” —Hong Ying, international bestselling author of Daughter of the River Readers previously enchanted by Memoirs of a Geisha, Empress, and the novels of Lisa See will be captivated by Duncan Jepson’s marvelous debut, All the Flowers in Shanghai. Evocative, sweeping, yet intimate historical fiction, Jepson’s novel transports us to a China on the brink of revolution, and witnesses this colorful, tumultuous world through the eyes of a woman forced into a life not of her choosing and driven to seek a bitter revenge. This epic journey into the heart of Asia is sure to mesmerize fans of Shanghai Girls and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
Author: Duncan Jepson
Publisher: Harper Collins
Touring Shanghai in 1936 as part of a black jazz orchestra, Thomas Greene meets Song Yuhua, translator for one of Japan's biggest crime bosses, and together through friendship and love they weather the Japanese invasion together. 40,000 first printing.
Author: Nicole Mones
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt