RANDOM HOUSE, 2002
Review by Sook C. Kong
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Xinran has crafted a range of stories based on her work and travel experiences within China. That Xinran was the popular host of a radio program for women gave her access to women and regions an outsider may not be able to access. One hand, her stories contain lots of important social and political issues, such as feminized material poverty and the rape of daughters and other women. On the other hand, there is an objectifying, anthropological tone in several of the stories. One wonders if that tone emanates more from the translation of the stories from Mandarin into English than with Xinran as writer.
Thematically, Xinran' s stories are strong. They contain threads that all feminists think about: how best to deal with pervasive, systemic male domination, how to get men and women in the system to see that it is really not a salubrious state of affairs for all in human society, for anyone who cares about communitarian health, for anyone who sees beyond their navel. …