THE SINEWS OF LOVE by Alexander Cordell


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Man's inhumanity to his young was Cordell's text in the earlier Welsh novel, Rape of the Fair Country (1959) which dealt with child labor in the coal mines and blast furnaces of the 19th century. This social evil still obtains in his new book told through the eyes of a teenage Chinese girl in Hong Kong and, when Ming Pei Sha's father sells her sister Ming Orla into concubinage, the novel's theme is stated. Ming Orla deserts her station as second wife to her husband and goes to work in a whorehouse Pei Sha's homely sister, Suelen, marries a merchant but finds happiness in a spiritually sanctified arrangement. And after Sha's adopted stepfather, a junk fisherman, takes a second wife, Pei Sha is forced to support herself and she goes to a marriage broker where she sells herself into concubinage. Her husband turns out to be seventy and when she becomes pregnant, it is by a young Englishman who has fallen in love with her. Ultimately Pei Sha loses the child and her lover and is returned to her stepfather's fishing junk... While the plot has overtones of a Chinese Stella Dallas, it is steadily readable and its rhetoric rips recklessly along at the top of the Kings's English.

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 1965
Publisher: Doubleday