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From an award-winning and bestselling Chinese author, this stunningly original novel captures the spirit of a new generation of young professionals in contemporary China. FROM AWARD-WINNING and bestselling Chinese writer Tie Ning comes a stunningly original novel that captures the spirit of a new generation of young professionals in contemporary China. The Bathing Women fol From an award-winning and bestselling Chinese author, this stunningly original novel captures the spirit of a new generation of young professionals in contemporary China. FROM AWARD-WINNING and bestselling Chinese writer Tie Ning comes a stunningly original novel that captures the spirit of a new generation of young professionals in contemporary China. The Bathing Women follows the lives of four women—Tiao, a children’s book editor; Fan, her sister, who thinks escaping to America might solve her problems; Fei,a hedonistic and self-destructive young woman; and Youyou, a chef—from childhood during the Cultural Revolution to adulthood in the new market economy. This moving novel charts the journey of these women as they grapple with love, sibling rivalry, and, ultimately, redemption. Beloved and renowned in China, Tie Ning’s numerous books have never before been translated into English; this publication of The Bathing Women introduces a brilliant writer of uncommon talents, vision, and compassion to American readers. Spellbinding, unforgettable, and an important chronicle of modern China, The Bathing Women is a powerful and beautiful portrait of the strength of female friendship in the face of adversity.


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From an award-winning and bestselling Chinese author, this stunningly original novel captures the spirit of a new generation of young professionals in contemporary China. FROM AWARD-WINNING and bestselling Chinese writer Tie Ning comes a stunningly original novel that captures the spirit of a new generation of young professionals in contemporary China. The Bathing Women fol From an award-winning and bestselling Chinese author, this stunningly original novel captures the spirit of a new generation of young professionals in contemporary China. FROM AWARD-WINNING and bestselling Chinese writer Tie Ning comes a stunningly original novel that captures the spirit of a new generation of young professionals in contemporary China. The Bathing Women follows the lives of four women—Tiao, a children’s book editor; Fan, her sister, who thinks escaping to America might solve her problems; Fei,a hedonistic and self-destructive young woman; and Youyou, a chef—from childhood during the Cultural Revolution to adulthood in the new market economy. This moving novel charts the journey of these women as they grapple with love, sibling rivalry, and, ultimately, redemption. Beloved and renowned in China, Tie Ning’s numerous books have never before been translated into English; this publication of The Bathing Women introduces a brilliant writer of uncommon talents, vision, and compassion to American readers. Spellbinding, unforgettable, and an important chronicle of modern China, The Bathing Women is a powerful and beautiful portrait of the strength of female friendship in the face of adversity.

30 review for The Bathing Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jola

    It’s difficult to point out the exact moment when a moving, thought-provoking story turned into a pretentious mess. Unfortunately that’s exactly what I experienced while reading The Bathing Women. Such a pity! At first I was surprised by rather low rating of Tie Ning’s book but now I can relate to frustrated readers. Three things that especially got on my nerves: 1. In my opinion the novel is too long. At times I had a feeling that Tie Ning was assigned a set number of pages to write and having li It’s difficult to point out the exact moment when a moving, thought-provoking story turned into a pretentious mess. Unfortunately that’s exactly what I experienced while reading The Bathing Women. Such a pity! At first I was surprised by rather low rating of Tie Ning’s book but now I can relate to frustrated readers. Three things that especially got on my nerves: 1. In my opinion the novel is too long. At times I had a feeling that Tie Ning was assigned a set number of pages to write and having literary material for fewer she struggled hard to meet the requirements. The result? Repetitions, for example a remark about the standard of living in China which according to Tie Ning is similar to the United States nowadays. Plus a depressing image of emigrant’s life. Besides, some parts of the book are boring, eg. the passage about Balthus, which probably was supposed to make the novel more ambitious but to me sounded a bit artificial. 2. Neglecting Youyou. Such a pity she didn’t play a more important role in the story. 3. I really prefer when authors trust reader’s imagination and explicit, detailed sex scenes is not something I enjoy in literature. Here they happened a few times. I’m aware of the importance of the symbol of nakedness in this book, implied by the title also, but sometimes I was overwhelmed with details of Tiao and Fei's erotic life. My troubles with The Bathing Women mentioned above were irritating, no doubt about that, but I’m going to follow Tie Ning’s literary career with a great interest, as she revealed some abilities I treasure most. She can create unforgettable scenes. The one with a teacher accused and ridiculed by students still makes me shiver. Besides, Tie Ning turned out to be a subtle literary psychologist, very good at weaving characters. For instance the way she depicted Tiao’s parents and their conflict is really impressive. The Bathing Women show the ambivalence of human nature. There are both good and bad things about people. Maybe it’s obvious but some writers tend to forget about it, pushing their heroes into “the good” and “the bad” category, nothing in between. Tie Ning definitely can see the complexity and a wide spectrum of human nature colours.

  2. 5 out of 5

    David Bennatan

    Five stars on this site doesn't mean to me "the best book" but that the book was "amazing". I was indeed amazed by this book. The characters have such passions. They love intensely and hate intensely. The plot's coincidences and the extravagant descriptions of love making, which would usually not impress me favorably, were carried off as part of the whole scheme which is totally overboard. I enjoy reading books about non-Western countries. Recently I read books by Indian and African authors. Thi Five stars on this site doesn't mean to me "the best book" but that the book was "amazing". I was indeed amazed by this book. The characters have such passions. They love intensely and hate intensely. The plot's coincidences and the extravagant descriptions of love making, which would usually not impress me favorably, were carried off as part of the whole scheme which is totally overboard. I enjoy reading books about non-Western countries. Recently I read books by Indian and African authors. This book was about life in China from the time of the Cultural Revolution to the period of economic advancement. Wasn't the Cultural Revolution itself totally extreme and unbelievable? So all the things that happen in the story are extreme just as the reality was extreme. It meant something to me that the author is a woman. It caused me to trust that she knew of what she wrote about a woman's emotions.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lesa Parnham

    This book would have been beautiful had I known how to read in Chinese. I read a lot of translated books with no problems, the translation of this book (by both Chinese and American translators was just a mess.I almost put it down, but I am glad I didn't because it was such a lovely and bittersweet story. I would jump at the chance to read more from this talented author if she got new translators. I know Chinese is a tough language--but there were 2 translators not one. Also, the title of the bo This book would have been beautiful had I known how to read in Chinese. I read a lot of translated books with no problems, the translation of this book (by both Chinese and American translators was just a mess.I almost put it down, but I am glad I didn't because it was such a lovely and bittersweet story. I would jump at the chance to read more from this talented author if she got new translators. I know Chinese is a tough language--but there were 2 translators not one. Also, the title of the book has absolutely no reference to any part of the book. Perhaps they meant to write "The Bejing Women?????" I hope to read more by tie ning. Xie Xie (thank you)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    Enjoyable story • I was interested in reading this novel which was originally published in 2000, and was translated in several different languages but it was only in 2012 that it was translated in English. Also interested in reading this book as it looked at contemporary Chinese women and was written for a Chinese audience and not necessarily for the western world. • After plodding through the first half (or else I just got use to the writing style) for me the second half was more engaging and fl Enjoyable story • I was interested in reading this novel which was originally published in 2000, and was translated in several different languages but it was only in 2012 that it was translated in English. Also interested in reading this book as it looked at contemporary Chinese women and was written for a Chinese audience and not necessarily for the western world. • After plodding through the first half (or else I just got use to the writing style) for me the second half was more engaging and flowed more smoothly. • I am not sure if it was the translation that caused some of the awkwardness of the language in the beginning, but the characterizations were very well done. • It was interesting reading a “chick lit/women’s fiction” novel from a Chinese pov – shows how universal many stories are – how young women want to be admired by men, want to be loved, learn how to maneuver in their societies. But what this story unique for me was that the timeline within the story was during the repressive re-education period and the beginning of the movement into the modern China that has become an economic world power. • This is not necessarily a political book but the politics of the time is present and integral part of the story.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Wisteria Leigh

    Review in HNR December 2012 The Bathing Women by Tie Ning Find & buy on Four women come of age amid Mao’s Cultural Revolution in a small village near Beijing. Taio is a children’s book editor while her sister Fan lives in America; both are daughters of Wu and Yixun. Fei balances a life of pleasure and danger, while YouYou dreams of becoming a chef. Wu and Yixun are sent to the River Reed labor farm, where their lives are difficult and lonely. Wu becomes sick with symptoms of dizziness and frequent Review in HNR December 2012 The Bathing Women by Tie Ning Find & buy on Four women come of age amid Mao’s Cultural Revolution in a small village near Beijing. Taio is a children’s book editor while her sister Fan lives in America; both are daughters of Wu and Yixun. Fei balances a life of pleasure and danger, while YouYou dreams of becoming a chef. Wu and Yixun are sent to the River Reed labor farm, where their lives are difficult and lonely. Wu becomes sick with symptoms of dizziness and frequent syncope. She is sent home to rest and seek a diagnosis. Dr. Tang determines her symptoms are psychological, not physiological. Even though she loves Yixun, she abhors the farm. Her decision made, she devises a plan to stay home permanently. This requires the in-depth adulterous services of Dr. Tang. One day Tiao meets Dr. Tang’s niece, Fei. Without provocation, Fei slaps Tiao in the face, and calls her mother Wu a whore. Fei’s own mother is dead. She was denounced at a public gathering, humiliated and forced to submit to an odd but disgusting punishment ironically witnessed by Tiao. Fan and Tiao are inseparable as children and Tiao assumes the big sister role as protector. About a year after Wu returns from the farm, she gives birth to another daughter, named Quan. Quan is beautiful and adored by everyone. Taio feels uncomfortable and strange with her. When Fei insinuates that she looks like her uncle, Tiao’s suspicions rise. The novel does not flow linearly but rather is pieced together randomly through scattered snippets, flashbacks and memories that interconnect the four women. For this reason it is a challenging book to wrap one’s head around. That said, however, it is a literary gem of poetic prose that unmasks a complex story of jealousy, adultery, deception and acceptance. The Bathing Women is an emotionally poignant novel by Tie Ning.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hikachi

    As I finished the book, I had this urge to slap Tiao and shout "You are a fuckin idiot!" As I finished the book, I had this urge to slap Tiao and shout "You are a fuckin idiot!"

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sheila Samuelson (BookAddict30)

    Rating: 1 star!! Review: I was given this book as a gift for Christmas BUT i did NOT love it!! It was hard to get into, the changing of language was very annoying to me which is why i rated it 1 star. I defiantely wont be reading more books by Tie Ning in the future!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Nightingale

    I was really looking forward to reading this book and was so disappointed when I did. As this book is a translation there were many instances of thoughts and repetitious words. When reading English we really don't need -- I know, I know, I know three times in the same sentence. This resulted in making the story awkward to follow. I was really looking forward to reading this book and was so disappointed when I did. As this book is a translation there were many instances of thoughts and repetitious words. When reading English we really don't need -- I know, I know, I know three times in the same sentence. This resulted in making the story awkward to follow.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jillwilson

    The novel focuses most concretely on the life of Tiao, a girl whose childhood takes place in the shadow of the Cultural Revolution and who then experiences China’s transformation into a shape-shifting economy – of “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” in the 1990s. Tiao and her sister Fan move from Beijing with their parents at the time of the cultural revolution. Her parents are forced to become farm labourers and the two young children live by themselves in Fu’an. It’s just one example of t The novel focuses most concretely on the life of Tiao, a girl whose childhood takes place in the shadow of the Cultural Revolution and who then experiences China’s transformation into a shape-shifting economy – of “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” in the 1990s. Tiao and her sister Fan move from Beijing with their parents at the time of the cultural revolution. Her parents are forced to become farm labourers and the two young children live by themselves in Fu’an. It’s just one example of the many social experiments that have played out in China over the last 60 years. The mother becomes ill and after a spell in hospital, she commences a relationship with her treating doctor and eventually they have a child. I don’t want to give away more of the plot – what happens next is one of those events that casts a shadow over the lives of the two sisters for ever. Tiao meets Fei – a classic bad girl and for a while, the novel focuses on her life as well, until the author seems to lose interest. The best metaphor I have for the experience of reading this novel is that it’s a bit like a few people have had a go at knitting a jumper – sometimes the tension and focus is just right and sometimes, it is baggy and shapeless. In the middle of the novel, Tiao spends some time thinking about the work of Balthus, the painter and she muses: “Balthus used traditionally concrete visual language, and the objects he chose to work with couldn’t have been more ordinary. He didn’t want to find his materials in the surreal, and he made use of reality in an honest, straightforward way. His reality seemed superficial, but was actually profound, seemed like one thing but was actually another, had the appearance of being ordinary but laid snares everywhere… The intimate distance and familiar strangeness that his painting communicated were his contribution to art.” I think this is where Tie Ning was trying to head with this book but it doesn’t quite work. At times she loses the intensity of focus that Balthus achieves in his painting. Years go by without consequence and then there are detailed descriptions of days. An important character dies and the death is mentioned almost as an afterthought. It does take me to China though – I think the jarring narrative elements help this. And I liked the exploration of the messy and competitive sibling elements and the warring parents of Tiao and Fan. These parts felt very real. This has been a best seller in China (apparently) and I think that this is interesting too. The title is interesting. I thought it might refer to a Balthus painting but I can’t find one with that name though it would be likely territory for him. I went to a beautiful exhibition in Paris recently titled La Toilette: The Birth of Privacy” (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/art...). This showed the evolution in representations of women who are bathing and grooming. The focus is intimate, private and revealing. The paintings are mostly quite beautiful. The women are usually alone. There is space and a meditative quality. In some ways, the novel is like the scene in a bathroom but the light is fluorescent in its intensity and exposure, not unkind but all the flaws are there for the viewer (or reader). A bit like being in modern China really.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Violet Gonzales

    I received this book as a participant in the Good Reads First Read program. I loved the realistic relationship between these characters. The pain that makes each one fragile while teaching strength to survive. The secrets and betrayal because no one believed there was another option. The cultural differences of the time and place. Fei broke my heart at every turn. Tiaos unrealistic belief that it was her job to make things rite for everyone. Fans inability to take any responsibility. I look forw I received this book as a participant in the Good Reads First Read program. I loved the realistic relationship between these characters. The pain that makes each one fragile while teaching strength to survive. The secrets and betrayal because no one believed there was another option. The cultural differences of the time and place. Fei broke my heart at every turn. Tiaos unrealistic belief that it was her job to make things rite for everyone. Fans inability to take any responsibility. I look forward to more of Tie Nings novels.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Rezk

    I liked some aspects of this book, but it was not a tightly written story. I don't mind jumping back and forth between the present and the past, but if that bothers you, skip this one. It was fascinating to learn more about the transition from the Cultural Revolution into contemporary China. The characters were all broken though, except for maybe one minor one. They all lived through difficult, dangerous times during the Cultural Revolution, but that was only part of what damaged most of them. Th I liked some aspects of this book, but it was not a tightly written story. I don't mind jumping back and forth between the present and the past, but if that bothers you, skip this one. It was fascinating to learn more about the transition from the Cultural Revolution into contemporary China. The characters were all broken though, except for maybe one minor one. They all lived through difficult, dangerous times during the Cultural Revolution, but that was only part of what damaged most of them. The story is mostly about the lives of the adult children of two families, how their lives became intertwined while they were children growing up during the Cultural Revolution, and how certain choices and events damaged them and their relationships. Don't expect happy endings. None of the characters are particularly likeable or inspire empathy. Also, there are graphic sex scenes and some include masochistic behavior.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eliza Harris

    I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to this book and say that the clunky, disjointed writing was the effect of a terrible translation. Some of the sentences were so terrible and the way the characters expressed their thoughts repetitively was cringey. The characters themselves were hard to like. It was like reading a book about children throwing one trantrum after another in adults bodies. The way they talked to each other and related to each other made me feel as though none of the chara I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to this book and say that the clunky, disjointed writing was the effect of a terrible translation. Some of the sentences were so terrible and the way the characters expressed their thoughts repetitively was cringey. The characters themselves were hard to like. It was like reading a book about children throwing one trantrum after another in adults bodies. The way they talked to each other and related to each other made me feel as though none of the characters had developed adult perspectives about the world and there was zero emotional depth. None of the characters were able to empathize or see past their own selfish, base needs. Perhaps that was a comment from the author about Revolutionary China? It was hard to tell and I think if it’s so hard to tell then it’s failed as a commentary.

  13. 4 out of 5

    L.A. Berry

    This was an interesting novel about life after the revolution for three women who are connected by their involvement in a tragic event which impacts each in a different way. Normally, I love reading about life in the Far East however I did struggle to connect with the characters in this novel and therefore did not relate to their sufferings and joys.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paulie

    Perhaps the fact that it was translated made initially becoming immersed in the novel slightly difficult,but I grew to enjoy the authors narrative style and voice. The plot felt like peering into a window so removed from my context both culturally and time wise and this made it all the more enjoyable.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Froese

    A strong Chinese author giving a Chinese perception of life during the Cultural Revolution. Events that happen early in the lives of four girls defines how they live and process their lives. Very good read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gemma Alexander

    I couldn’t resist a story about the intersecting lives of a group of women shaped by the Cultural Revolution. I read it almost in one sitting, gulping down the last chapter hours after my bedtime. I wish I had gone to bed instead of reading the last chapter. I would have loved the book so much more. it was a beautifully told story about genuinely complex characters who belonged to their time and were affected by politics without being particularly political. Although they are guilty of an almost I couldn’t resist a story about the intersecting lives of a group of women shaped by the Cultural Revolution. I read it almost in one sitting, gulping down the last chapter hours after my bedtime. I wish I had gone to bed instead of reading the last chapter. I would have loved the book so much more. it was a beautifully told story about genuinely complex characters who belonged to their time and were affected by politics without being particularly political. Although they are guilty of an almost inconceivable crime, it is easy to hope for their happiness as they make the best of what is left of their damaged lives. It is especially easy to sympathize with Tiao, who like Ethan Allen in The Winter of Our Discontent, realizes that many people live exemplary lives in compensation for past sin. Until the last chapter. Suddenly, Tiao broke from the hard won life that she had been building in a way that made this down-to-earth human drama feel like a religious parable. It was a baffling and disappointing end to an engaging, richly characterized story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cyndi

    Follows the lives of two sisters and a close friend as they grow from childhood through to mid adulthood. The title makes no sense (there is no bathing involved) and the jacket says the book follows 4 women, but the 4th is a minor character without her own viewpoint chapters and really the 4th ought to be the sisters' mother who has a secondary role. Blame the translation from Chinese. It may have made more sense in the original. The story itself is good, showing the structures of life in China a Follows the lives of two sisters and a close friend as they grow from childhood through to mid adulthood. The title makes no sense (there is no bathing involved) and the jacket says the book follows 4 women, but the 4th is a minor character without her own viewpoint chapters and really the 4th ought to be the sisters' mother who has a secondary role. Blame the translation from Chinese. It may have made more sense in the original. The story itself is good, showing the structures of life in China and how they changed over time. With insights into the women's thoughts and those of the men in their lives as well. Much of the book is hard for an American to grasp...not the main points, but a lot of the details which seemed to me that they would have meant more had I understood the underlying culture better.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carmilla Voiez

    I read other reviews that condemned the English translation of this book as too literal and repetitive. Certainly some of the sentence structures caused my Western head a bit of difficulty at first, but as the story progressed it added to its charm. There is a lot of shift in point of view throughout, but it is quickly made clear whose emotions are being communicated to the reader and the voice always feels like Tiao's voice, as if every emotion and every thought has been filtered through Tiao i I read other reviews that condemned the English translation of this book as too literal and repetitive. Certainly some of the sentence structures caused my Western head a bit of difficulty at first, but as the story progressed it added to its charm. There is a lot of shift in point of view throughout, but it is quickly made clear whose emotions are being communicated to the reader and the voice always feels like Tiao's voice, as if every emotion and every thought has been filtered through Tiao in her role as narrator. The portrayal of post-revolutionary provincial China was fascinating and the change in values over time. In all I found it a compelling and lovely book and I would recommend to anyone who does not require an action-packed read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan Ovans

    This was a tough read. It was confusing, particularly at the start. It's very wordy, with descriptions of music, art, poetry etc. that are extraneous to the story yet seem to be a pattern with Chinese writers. The book title makes no sense, and the novel's translation from the Chinese leaves much to be desired. Yet there was much to like about this story of childhood friends in contemporary China. Their attitudes and experiences are so different from Americans'; the only commonality between Chin This was a tough read. It was confusing, particularly at the start. It's very wordy, with descriptions of music, art, poetry etc. that are extraneous to the story yet seem to be a pattern with Chinese writers. The book title makes no sense, and the novel's translation from the Chinese leaves much to be desired. Yet there was much to like about this story of childhood friends in contemporary China. Their attitudes and experiences are so different from Americans'; the only commonality between Chinese women and Western ones, at least as presented by these characters, is their expansive capacity to love and forgive.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Margot

    Translation was choppy and I really don't know if it's just the language or poor translators. And, I still don't get the title. I think this book was very interesting if you are specifically interested in China since the Cultural Revolution (which I am) It falls short if you are reading it as just a tale of the trials of today's modern woman. If it's accurate, I feel very sorry for woman trying to be happy in today's China. Translation was choppy and I really don't know if it's just the language or poor translators. And, I still don't get the title. I think this book was very interesting if you are specifically interested in China since the Cultural Revolution (which I am) It falls short if you are reading it as just a tale of the trials of today's modern woman. If it's accurate, I feel very sorry for woman trying to be happy in today's China.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kylie Sparks

    This is an enjoyable novel. At times I was reminded of the writer Anais Nin. The characters were interesting. The family relationships were pretty ugly, however, and in the end I felt like the author was trying to tie up these ugly relationships in a bow to make something beautiful of them. In my opinion there are some people you should just cut all ties with, not honor forever because they are related to you by blood. Near the end I found myself skimming.

  22. 4 out of 5

    The Book

    The poor translation quality gets in the way of the novel (too literal, practically word-for-word with not enough consideration given to how readable the novel is in English) but also I just didn't like it. I don't know if it was the translation or the novel itself, but the characters were 2D, there was very little real emotion from any of them, and I was left thinking "well so what?". Not one to re-read. The poor translation quality gets in the way of the novel (too literal, practically word-for-word with not enough consideration given to how readable the novel is in English) but also I just didn't like it. I don't know if it was the translation or the novel itself, but the characters were 2D, there was very little real emotion from any of them, and I was left thinking "well so what?". Not one to re-read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Noreen

    2.5 - Enjoyed aspects of the book such as life in 1970s China, but didn't really enjoy the style of writing and found it dragged quite a bit. Have since looked at other reviews and now realise that the nature of the writing is probably due to translation - duh - clunky and too wordy and maybe too literal. I have been wondering why the book is called the Bathing Women and it has been suggested that it should read 'Beijing Women' which makes much more sense. 2.5 - Enjoyed aspects of the book such as life in 1970s China, but didn't really enjoy the style of writing and found it dragged quite a bit. Have since looked at other reviews and now realise that the nature of the writing is probably due to translation - duh - clunky and too wordy and maybe too literal. I have been wondering why the book is called the Bathing Women and it has been suggested that it should read 'Beijing Women' which makes much more sense.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Upped to 2 stars because of the unique cultural insights and occasional well-written sections. Otherwise would have been 1 star due to the collection of thoroughly unlikeable characters and frequently awkward sentence construction (maybe a translation problem). Hard to read and not really worth the effort in my opinion.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cara

    I had to force myself to finish this book. There were moments in the first half that were beautifully written, but the second half got progressively worse. The plot was confusing and I thought the main character's decisions at the end made no sense. Mad that I could have read three better books in the time that I spent trudging through this one. Maybe much of its value was lost in translation? I had to force myself to finish this book. There were moments in the first half that were beautifully written, but the second half got progressively worse. The plot was confusing and I thought the main character's decisions at the end made no sense. Mad that I could have read three better books in the time that I spent trudging through this one. Maybe much of its value was lost in translation?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brettne Shootman

    I hated this book. Seriously, it was all over the place. It started out really wonderfully but I think that this book was originally written in Chinese and translated and the translation just didn't work for an American reader. The ending was the strangest ending I've ever read and didn't connect with the rest of the book. My book club felt the same way. I hated this book. Seriously, it was all over the place. It started out really wonderfully but I think that this book was originally written in Chinese and translated and the translation just didn't work for an American reader. The ending was the strangest ending I've ever read and didn't connect with the rest of the book. My book club felt the same way.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    Tie Ning is an amazing contemporary Chinese author. This is not her first book, but it is the first book she has had translated into English. I am sure that some of her text's meaning gets lost in translation, but even so, the narrative was at times so moving and very poetic. I really enjoyed reading this book, and I am looking forward to her next translation. Tie Ning is an amazing contemporary Chinese author. This is not her first book, but it is the first book she has had translated into English. I am sure that some of her text's meaning gets lost in translation, but even so, the narrative was at times so moving and very poetic. I really enjoyed reading this book, and I am looking forward to her next translation.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    This book kept my interest, it was not a compelling read, it was a translation and some of the wording was choppy. There were many sad parts to this book in dealing with relationship issues. Reminded me that people are people - country does not matter.

  29. 5 out of 5

    !Tæmbuŝu

    KOBOBOOKS Reviewed by The Guardian (22 Mar 2013) KOBOBOOKS Reviewed by The Guardian (22 Mar 2013)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Noah

    2.5 EDIT: 3 Looking back on this I think I was kind of harsh on this book. It didn't deliver in some aspects for me, but I do love the care Ning gives her characters. Not a solid translation. Also I'd give this one a trigger warning for rape scenes in the first third. 2.5 EDIT: 3 Looking back on this I think I was kind of harsh on this book. It didn't deliver in some aspects for me, but I do love the care Ning gives her characters. Not a solid translation. Also I'd give this one a trigger warning for rape scenes in the first third.

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