Bound Feet & Western Dress

Bound Feet & Western Dress

Book - 1996
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Baker & Taylor
Alternates the stories of the author's great aunt, growing up in the years between the fall of the last emperor and the Communist revolution, with the author's own search for identity, belonging, and her family heritage

Blackwell North Amer
As a first-generation Chinese-American dutifully majoring in Chinese studies, Pang-Mei Natasha Chang stumbled across the name of her great-aunt Chang Yu-i in a history book. To Pang-Mei's astonishment, her eighty-three-year-old aunt, best known in the family for her retiring ways and masculine manner, had once been married to Hsu Chih-mo, China's preeminent modern poet, had run the Shanghai Women's Savings Bank during the 1930s, and had suffered the anguish of enduring what is considered China's first Western-style divorce. Could this same woman, whom Pang-Mei regarded as part respected elder and part unsophisticated immigrant, be the same romantic heroine from her textbooks? Over the next few years, Pang-Mei spent long afternoons with Yu-i drawing forth her story - an unforgettable saga of a woman, born in Shanghai at the turn of the century to a highly respected, well-to-do family, who continually defied the expectations of her class and culture.
"In China, a woman is nothing," began Yu-i over tea and dumplings. "This is the first lesson I want to give so that you will understand." Growing up in the perilous years between the fall of the last Emperor and the Communist Revolution, Yu-i led a life marked by a series of rebellions that changed the course of her life, including the first and most lasting: her refusal to have her feet bound. And through Yu-i's stories, Pang-Mei comes to understand something of her own ambivalences regarding her Chinese heritage and the ever-present tug between familial duty and individual desire.

Baker
& Taylor

Alternates the stories of the author's great aunt, growing up in the years between the fall of the last emperor and the Communist revolution, with the author's own search for identity, belonging, and her family heritage. 40,000 first printing. $40,000 ad/promo. Tour.

Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 1996
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385479639
0385479638
Characteristics: xx, 215 p., [8] p. of plates : ports. ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: Bound feet and Western dress

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