Bette Bao Lord

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Ronald Nevans

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[Spring Moon] one of the most remarkable novels ever to explain the East to the West, follows the history of a Mandarin Chinese family…. Through the eyes of Spring Moon, a lively and intelligent daughter of the House of Chang, we see the beauty of the inner courtyard society and observe its respect for family, order and harmony, scholarship and poetry. But we see, too, how Chinese society's rigid etiquette hobbles the lives of its women as surely as their bound feet. (p. 75)

[Bette Bao Lord] writes in a low-key style that suggests the understatement of traditional Chinese poetry. Her final section, which races through the early days of the Chinese Revolution, seems too determined to score polemical points at the expense of Spring Moon's revolutionary daughter, the tiresomely pedantic Lustrous Jade. But for most of its length, this beautifully written first novel manages to be both poignant and restrained. (pp. 75-6)

Ronald Nevans, "Fiction Briefs: 'Spring Moon'," in Saturday Review (copyright © 1981 by Saturday Review; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), Vol. 8, No. 10, October, 1981, pp. 75-6.

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