Leaving Mother Lake
A Girlhood at the Edge of the World
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Leaving Mother Lake by Yang Erche Namu
Book DescriptionThe Tibetans refer to Moso country as 'The Country of Daughters' because of their unique matrilineal society. In Moso culture, daughters are favoured children. There is no word for father, marriage is considered a backward practice, and property is passed on from mother to daughter. LEAVING MOTHER LAKE is the haunting memoir of a girl growing up in a remarkable place. In her village, Namu was known as the girl whose mother tried to give her away three times because she would not stop crying. The strong-willed Namu clashes with her equally fierce mother, becoming alienated from village life. When Chinese officials come looking for talented singers, she seizes her chance and breaks the taboo that holds Moso culture together - she leaves her mother's house. Winning a place at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music as a special minority student, Namu becomes 'the Madonna of Tibet', singing on the soundtrack of The Joy Luck Club.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780349117584
(203mm x 126mm x 20mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 12-Mar-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Yang Erche Namu
UK Kirkus Review » Huddled in the mountainous region of the Himalayas is a mysterious place known as the 'Country of Daughters'. Here on the shores of Lake Lugu, the Moso people eke out a living from the harsh landscape, carrying on the traditional way of life which has set them apart for hundreds of years. For the Moso people belong to a matrilineal society, where the women rule the men, property is passed through the female line, and marriage is considered irrelevant. The matriarch rules the family unit, ensuring that the traditions and rituals relating to puberty, birth and death are correctly observed, while the men spend months away trading in distant parts of China and Tibet. This is the story of one Moso girl who grew up among these traditions, but finally rebelled against her upbringing and went out into the world to follow her dreams. Christine Mathieu has spent many years researching the background to the Moso culture, and several months with Namu herself, delving into her past, unearthing many buried memories. As a result, Leaving Mother Lake is not only a fascinating and incredibly detailed account of life amongst the Moso people, but also the poignant tale of one girl's flight for freedom, and how she eventually reconciles her new, sophisticated life with her traditional past. Namu tells her story with a fluency and richness of language which is utterly compelling. When she recalls the freezing nights spent guarding the yaks with her uncle, you can almost feel the beasts' steaming urine as she runs her icy hands in the flow to thaw them. The rituals of life with the Moso are full of fascinating detail such as the 'skirt ceremony' when Namu becomes a woman and is given her own flower chamber, where she can receive young men for sexual pleasure whenever she wants. Namu, however, is restless and longs to experience the world beyond the 'Country of the Daughters'. Her opportunity arises when she is selected to take part in a singing competition; her success is just the first step on the road to international acclaim, and a chance to put her Moso heritage behind her. But Namu has some hard lessons to learn, not only about making her way in the world, but also how important her Moso inheritance is to her. This is a serious work of scholarship, a fascinating historical account and a deeply moving human story; no one who reads this powerful book can fail to be captivated by it. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Yang Erche Namu
Namu divides her time between Beijing, Geneva, and San Francisco. Christine Mathieu is an anthropologist and short story writer.
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