There is cause to have high hopes for Bette Bao Lord's historical fiction, "Spring Moon: A Novel of China." If nothing else, there is the Prologue, set in 1892, in which Plum Blossom, the slave girl of the young Spring Moon, bitterly laments the news that she is to be given away [and commits suicide]….
Not only is this incident the stuff of folk tales, it also artfully prefigures the larger action of the novel. It puts a symbolic curse on the House of Chang that will not be redeemed by 100 years of violent history. It is also the first in a series of anti-traditional acts that all together can be seen as China's experience in the 20th century.
And as well as this prologue and its...
(The entire section is 573 words.)