Yeah, I’m on a roll.
Polished off Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures shortly after taking a whole week to read The Birth House. The latter novel was very good and rich with Maritime (province) essence. I don’t know this essence very personally for my family is the first and only one to settle there but I recognized it immediately. More than the traditional vs. modern medicine conflict I expected, I was impressed with the tale of the survival of women and their triumphs.
Miss Chopsticks is another novel about women. While I initially found it difficult to believe that a village in China in the late 20th century can be so different from cities you and I know, I can understand the mentality afterall. Some of the axioms included in the novel are exactly what my mother told me amidst the modern ways of thinking she also conferred; if you were to imagine a whole community completely indoctrinated in the old way of thinking and with little to no exposure to otherwise, you can sympathize with their mindset and subsequent actions.
A novel I read recently about Chinese in China by a Chinese writer was Monkey King. It was shockingly and uncomfortably honest about a lower-middle class life in Macau and I resented a little Timothy Mo’s unsympathetic exposition. Miss Chopsticks is admittedly rose-coloured but you can read beneath her subtleties. The story can contrast between city and village life, old and new ways of thinking, and Chinese and Western thought from the approachable and vulnerable perspectives of three Chinese sisters with different personalities. I would venture to say it’s chick-lit, Nanjing/migrant worker style!