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Topic: Asian Historical Fiction

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Subject: Asian Historical Fiction
Date Posted: 12/10/2007 3:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 965
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Ok I've read The Joy Luck Club, Snow Flower & The Secret Fan and Memoirs of a Geisha. What other books by the same authors or new authors are the gems of this genre?

Date Posted: 12/10/2007 3:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
Posts: 5,201
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Try Pearl Buck - her books are older (she has been deceased for years), but she grew up in China as the child of missionaries and her novels draw on her experiences and observations.  She is one of my keepers.  Her most famous novel, The Good Earth, (for which she won the Nobel prize) is still in print.  Others may be harder to find.

Date Posted: 12/10/2007 3:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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CLOUD MOUNTAIN by Aimee E. Liu.  "An epic saga of a forbidden love..."  Drawing on her grandparents own story, the author gives us a tale of true love that spans four decades. It's very romantic.  Also, the history is fascinating as the story shows the brutality of China as it is struggling to change. 

Date Posted: 12/10/2007 11:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 965
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Thanks. I will add these authors to my list. :-)

Date Posted: 12/11/2007 8:40 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,264
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Let us not forget James Clavell's Shogun and Tai Pan! He might not be a "new" author but he might be new to you.

Date Posted: 12/11/2007 9:41 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 314
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I will second The Good Earth and Shogun. If we're talking Pearl Buck, we can also talk about Han Suyin.

Her A Many-Splendored Thing a fictionalized account of her affair with an American reporter in 1949 in Hong Kong. Good description of HK at the time and the touchy relationships between Westerners and Chinese. The movie by the way is beautiful to look at but pretty corny.

If you're into historical fiction about the Terrorist Emergency in Malaya in the 1950s her And The Rain My Drink is pretty good. For a more literary treatement of the place and time, read The Malayan Triology by Anthony Burgess.

Date Posted: 12/11/2007 10:11 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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Gail Tsukiyama is another author you may want to try. She wrote Women of the Silk and several other novels. I will second the suggestion of The Good Earth.

Date Posted: 12/11/2007 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 3/18/2007
Posts: 782
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One of my absolute favorites is To Live by Yu Hua. There is also a movie based on this book, and it is my all time favorite movie.

Some other authors include Su Tong and Mo Yan.

This is a book I have been eyeing for a while: The Court of the Lion: A Novel of the T'Ang Dynasty

Date Posted: 12/11/2007 1:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 965
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Yes I came across Gail Tsukiyama in my search for other authors and I definitely plan to read some of her books starting with Women of the Silk. Oh and of course I remember Shogun! Loved the miniseries but never read the book. Thank you for all the suggestions  everyone!

Date Posted: 12/11/2007 5:32 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 240
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Wild Swans by Jung Chang- more of an autobiography, but historical and set in China.  The Book of Salt by Monique Truong is set in Paris but the main character is Vietnamese and it flashes back to his life in Vietnam.  Both are very good.

 

I have seen the movie To Live but didn't know there was a book.  Thanks for that recommendation.

Date Posted: 12/11/2007 10:29 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,497
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How about the Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima?  He is a Japanese writer (in Japan not the US) and it's more of a story written from that cultural perspective.  Not exactly historical fiction but written in the 1940s, so from that era.

Pearl Buck's Good Earth trilogy is good too.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijei was really good.  It's set in China during the cultural revolution of the 1960s-1970s.



Last Edited on: 12/11/07 10:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/12/2007 8:06 AM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2006
Posts: 241
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I also liked Empress Orchid by Anchee Min and if you are looking for a memoir, I liked Falling Leaves: Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah

Date Posted: 12/12/2007 10:39 AM ET
Member Since: 3/18/2007
Posts: 782
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Wow, someone else who had watched To Live. For some reason that makes me happy LOL I just think its the most incredibly movie so I like to know that someone else has watched it besides me.

 

FYI: the book is somewhat different from the movie. A lot of things are different, but both are wonderful in their own ways.

Date Posted: 12/12/2007 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2006
Posts: 823
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I really liked The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan. It takes place in India.

Women of the Silk was very good! A recent favorite for me was The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy, about a Chinese family growing up in Vancouver Chinatown in the early 20th century.

Date Posted: 12/12/2007 2:05 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2006
Posts: 823
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PS I've seen To Live and most every popular Chinese movie!! :) I was a Chinese minor in college and took a Chinese film class.

Date Posted: 12/12/2007 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 12/11/2007
Posts: 1
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Hi Leticia,  You might want to try "The Ginger Tree" by Oswald Wynd.

Date Posted: 12/13/2007 2:13 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 1,241
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Spring Moon by Bette Bao Lord and I second Pearl Buck

Date Posted: 12/13/2007 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 965
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Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions. I'm definitely going to be adding to my TBR pile. If you have multiples of these suggestions on your shelf, please let me know.

Date Posted: 12/13/2007 5:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2006
Posts: 131
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Just bought this one and haven't read it yet.....but it looks good.

February Flowers by Fan Wu

Set in modern China, February Flowers tells the stories of two young women's journeys to self-discovery and reconciliation with the past. Seventeen-year-old Ming and twenty-four-year-old Yan have very little in common other than studying at the same college. Ming, idealistic and preoccupied, lives in her own world of books, music, and imagination. Yan, by contrast, is sexy but cynical, beautiful but wild, with no sense of home. When the two meet and become friends, Ming's world is forever changed. But their differences in upbringing and ideology ultimately drive them apart, leaving each to face her dark secret alone. Insightful, sophisticated, and rich with complex characters, February Flowers captures a society torn between tradition and modernity, dogma and freedom. It is a meditation on friendship, family, love, loss, and redemption and how a background shapes a life.

 

Date Posted: 12/15/2007 8:26 AM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2006
Posts: 181
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Last Edited on: 2/4/15 9:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/16/2007 10:19 AM ET
Member Since: 9/15/2005
Posts: 174
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hI~~   When you read Gail Tsukiyama  read    Language of the Threads   after    Women of the Silk.     It is a continuing story and when I finished the 1st one I couldnt wait to read the 2nd.    I amm really enjoying her books....I got into this genre  because of reading      Snowflower and the Secret Fan    then    Peony in Love   both by Lisa See.

~~~~~~~~~~ jeannie

Date Posted: 12/17/2007 7:59 AM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2006
Posts: 131
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I loved Snow Flower and the Secret Fan but I just can't get into Peony in Love.  Is it just me?

Date Posted: 12/17/2007 12:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 965
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I loved Snow Flower and the Secret Fan but I just can't get into Peony in Love.  Is it just me?

I haven't read Peony but it's on my wishlist. Unfortunately, you are not the first one that has made this comment. There is a thread somewhere on this forum where others were having a hard time with it.

Date Posted: 2/5/2008 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2007
Posts: 47
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Waiting by Ha Jin was also very good.  It is like Balzac and the Chinese Seamtress in that it has to do with living in China during the days of the cultural revolution and coping with the absurdities of enforced rules ( sometimes the situations- in both books are funny, sometimes not)