Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

The Excluded Wife

Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

The Excluded Wife

Article excerpt

WOON, Yuen-Fong, THE EXCLUDED WIFE. Montreal, Quebec: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1998, 295pp., $29.95 hardcover.

One might expect an uninspiring historical account of the struggles of the Chinese women who had to put up with their isolation from their husbands from 1923 to 1967. However, this book is a fascinating story of the life of Sau-Ping during these difficult years. After reading a few pages, I never let the book down as the quality of narration rivaled the bea novels. This is a remarkable book that has most successfully combined the historical aspects of the life of Chinese wives, represented by Sau-Ping, in the excellent style of fiction, keeping the reader riveted to this book.

Sau-Ping was a most resolute woman who was able to endure all the hardships of life as a grass widow. As a traditional wife in China, she obeyed her mother-in-law who was occasionally kind to her. At her old age, Sau-Ping looked after her till her death. In the early years ofher life lawlessness was common, with bandit attacks and kidnapping, resulting in the loss of her close friend. Eventually, they meet and lived in Hong Kong. The greatest suffering was during the Communist take over which disrupted their tranquil life style. The only hope was to escape to Hong Kong with the help of friends from Toi-Shaan. In Hong Kong, she lived with some family members in squalid conditions. Her determination to survive was remarkable in spite of being a victim of tuberculosis from which she recovered.

Sau-Ping eventually was able to go to Canada with the money saved by her husband. …

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