BAMBOO SHOOTS AFTER THE RAIN: Contemporary Stories by Ann C. Carver

BAMBOO SHOOTS AFTER THE RAIN: Contemporary Stories

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fourteen stories, translated from Chinese, that are as much a reflection of the changing status of women in Chinese society in the 20th century as of the range of their literary accomplishments during the same period. Dividing the writers into generations--older, middle, and younger--the editors have chosen pieces that they consider best represent each of them. The stories by the older generation ("Looking Back Through Women's Eyes") are mostly accounts of the constraints that traditional Chinese society imposed on women. Stories like "The Chinon" and "In Liu Village" describe, respectively, a wife's anguish when her husband takes a concubine, and the relentless demands, even cruelties, of a woman's in-laws. As the old China was supplanted by communism and a new dispensation in Taiwan, the middle generation ("Challenging Boundaries and Affirming the Will") wrote stories that acknowledge female sexuality but also detail how the new institutions have affected women. And in this section is found the most accomplished story here, "Chairman Mao is a Rotten Egg," by Jo-hsi Chen, the well-known author of The Execution of Mayor Yin (1978). Responding to a rapidly changing society, the younger generation's stories are more experimental in style, and less specifically Chinese: married women work, teen-agers have sexual encounters, and aging parents go out on dates. Sometimes uneven in quality but always interesting in content: a collection that gives a vivid and detailed picture of women and women's evolving roles in a culture once notoriously repressive. A useful contribution.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1990
Publisher: Feminist Press
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