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Topic: Fiction / Memoirs of Women in the Developing World

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Subject: Fiction / Memoirs of Women in the Developing World
Date Posted: 2/4/2010 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2005
Posts: 446
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My book club just read Half the Sky and we're interested in reading novels or memoirs about issues faced by women in the developing world. We have a few titles already but I'd love to hear your thoughts on books we might read.

Date Posted: 2/4/2010 1:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Out of Exile ed. by Craig Walzer tells the stories of people who have escaped Darfur - they are a series of oral narratives and are just extraordinarily powerful and moving.

Date Posted: 2/4/2010 10:03 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,535
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For memoir, how about Mukhtar Mai's In the Name of Honor?  She was the Pakistani woman who was raped as punishment for her brother's actions.  Instead of sitting back and accepting it, she fought against the village elders.  It's a pretty powerful book.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 8:07 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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I remember I, Rigoberta Menchu as being a very powerful, compelling, and enlightening book when I read it years ago. Menchu is an indigenous Guatemalan woman who has dedicated her life to promoting the rights of inigenous Guatemalan people -- she received the Nobel Peace Prize 1992. A controversy about the book arose a decade ago when an American anthropologist uncovered evidence that some of Menchu's claims in the book were false. Menchu then conceded that she mixed her life story with accounts of others' lives in an effort to convince the world of the atrocities in her country. So, if you want to learn about issues faced by women in developing countries as opposed to reading a factual autobiography, the book is worth reading.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 5:01 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Coree: You might take a look at Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China , by Jung Chang.  It's  a chronicle of the impact of history on the lives of three generations of Chinese women, and  tells of the survival of their family  through a century of disaster.  The time frame of the memoir ranges from 1870, during the Manchu empire, through the (Sun Yat-sen) Revolution that overthrew the last Empire (the Ching Empire),  through the Maoist Revolution, the advent of the People's Republic of China,  the 'Cultural Revolution', and subsequent events on down to 1978. 

In her young life, the author was a Red Guard (briefly), worked as a peasant, as a "barefoot doctor", a steelworker, and an electrician before becoming an English-language student and, later, an assistant lecturer at Sichuan University. She left China for Britain in 1978 and was subsequently awarded a scholarship by York University (UK), where she obtained a Ph.D in Linguistics in 1982.  There used to be a cliche phrase about how someone had had "a long and checkered past"-----tthose words strike me as aptly descriptive of Jung Chang's life. 

Last Edited on: 2/7/10 5:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/8/2010 5:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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I haven't read it, but I have it on my library list....Born in the Big Rains by Fadumo Korn, which is a memoir of the author's life in a nomadic Somalian Islamic tribe, forced to undergo female circumcision (aka female genital mutilation) at age 7, which caused lifelong debilitating problems for her until she had it corrected as an adult in Germany. She became an activist against that barbaic practice. It sounds like a very interesting read!