For eight groundbreaking years, Xinran presented a radio programme in China during which she invited women to call in and talk about themselves. Broadcast every evening, Words on the Night Breeze became famous through the country for its unflinching portrayal of what it meant to be a woman in modern China. Centuries of obedience to their fathers, husbands and sons, followed by years of political turmoil had made women terrified of talking openly about their feelings. Xinran won their trust and, through her compassion and ability to listen, became the first woman to hear their true stories. This unforgettable book is the story of how Xinran negotiated the minefield of restrictions imposed on Chinese journalists to reach out to women across the country. Through the vivid intimacy of her writing, the women's voices confide in the reader, sharing their deepest secrets for the first time. Their stories changed Xinran's understanding of China forever. Her book will reveal the lives of Chinese women to the West as never before.
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(198mm x 129mm x 15mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
One morning, Xinran Xue, the presenter and producer of a women's radio programme in Communist China, received a letter reading: 'I'm sorry, I can't go on living. You shouldn't have saved me.... Remembering is too painful. I'm leaving.' The letter was written by a 16-year-old girl to her parents. She had been raped by soldiers and left in a ditch. Later she killed herself in hospital and her father died of a heart attack from the shock. This is just one of many stories and letters sent to Xinran for her radio show, 'Words on a Night Breeze', which she had set up to help the abused girls and women of China. The show was instantly and enormously popular; Xinran had many followers among the women of China. However, even though she was aware of the suffering caused by the oppressive regime, she was unprepared for what she heard and read. This book is an account of her experiences. For many of the women who contacted her, the programme was a lifeline - their only opportunity to communicate with someone who understood their problems. Women were unable to speak freely about their feelings - or indeed to express themselves at all - as they had for so long been dominated by their fathers, husbands and sons, who punished them when they 'transgressed'. This misogyny was reinforced by a tyrannical government that regarded women as people of no importance. Despite the horrors of their lives, the love, compassion and fighting spirit of the women shine through. This is an unforgettable book with many distressing stories and some heartwarming ones. Xinran risked censure, even prison, for telling their stories. They changed her view of China and now they will change ours. (Kirkus UK)
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Book Review: Good Women of China by Xinran - Reviewed by rachthevego (24 Jan 2012)
An amazing and awe inspiring collection of the stories of Chinese women (during the revolution) by an Author who has her fair share of stories too. At times the stories were disturbing and unbelievable even horrible but this is a truly eye opening book that must be read by all women and definitely by all men.
I was particularly touched by the story of the author which comes towards the end of the book and also by an earlier account of the girl who kept a fly as a pet and her admission that the touch of the flies wings on her body in the hospital was the nicest thing that happened to her in her life.....that in itself speaks volumes about what life was like for these poor women!
Author Biography - Xinran
Born in Beijing in 1958, Xinran was a journalist and radio presenter in China. In 1997 she moved to London, where she wrote her bestselling book The Good Women of China. Since then she has written a regular column for the Guardian, appeared frequently on radio and TV and published Sky Burial, What the Chinese Don't Eat, a novel (Miss Chopsticks), and a groundbreaking work of oral history, China Witness. Her charity, The Mothers' Bridge of Love, was founded to help disadvantaged Chinese children and to build a bridge of understanding between the West and China.