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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

thoughts on: The Good Women of China

The Good Women of China: Hidden VoicesThe Good Women of China: Hidden Voices by Xinran

After reading Xinran's Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother, I wanted to read more of her books. I thought Message was heartwrenchingly sad; Good Women was absolutely horrific. I am stunned by the brutality which was/is commonplace. I am amazed any can survive it.

I'd read memoirs of childhoods during the Cultural Revolution, but none of them shared stories like these. The sheer inhumanity shown here comes not only from the upheaval caused by the politics of the 20th century, but from thousands of years of viewing women as beings without intrinsic value, instruments to be used rather than people to be loved.

The stories recounted here were shared with Xinran when she hosted a ground-breaking radio show in the 1980's/90's, one of the first call in radio programs in China. Listeners would write to her, and call in hours long messages telling their stories anonymously. Many of the women's stories, like those collection here, could not be broadcast on the air, but Xinran could not forget them. I won't either.

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