What Do I Read Next?
Lee is a bestselling novelist in modern China. She and her contemporaries draw from a long history of Chinese women’s writing. Women Writers of Traditional China: An Anthology of Poetry and Criticism (2000), edited by Kang-i Sun Chang and Haun Saussy, includes a chronological selection of poetry and criticism from 222 to the early twentieth century, as well as helpful notes on the texts and biographical information on the authors.
Richard Gunde’s Culture and Customs of China (2002) examines what life is like for people in modern-day China. The book includes sections on every major aspect of Chinese life, including thought and religion; literature and art; food and clothing; architecture and housing; and family and gender.
C. T. Hsia’s A History of Modern Chinese Fiction (1999) provides a good introduction to Chinese fiction written from 1917 to the late 1990s. The book also covers many of the historical and political events that took place during this time period.
In Michael David Kwan’s Things That Must Not Be Forgotten: A Childhood in Wartime China (2000), the author, who is of mixed Chinese-Swiss descent, recalls his life growing up in China during the Japanese occupation, the nationalistcommunist conflict, and the effects that these events, as well as his own mixed-race background, had on his life and the life of his family.
Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club (1989) is a collection of sixteen interlinked tales about the problems that Chinese-American women face when trying to reconcile their Chinese and American heritages. Set in San Francisco in the 1980s, the majority of the book is told in flashbacks, which include experiences in China during many of the same time periods examined in Farewell My Concubine. All the stories are narrated by either a Chinese-born mother or her American-born daughter.
James and Ann Tyson, correspondents for the Christian Science Monitor, spent five years in modern China, seeking out life stories and opinions from a wide variety of Chinese people while avoiding government intervention in their project. The result of their research, Chinese Awakenings: Life Stories from the Unofficial China (1995), uses personal stories of modern Chinese people to chronicle the massive changes that the country has been undergoing in recent years.