About the book and author
Xinran is best known for The Good Women of China, her groundbreaking international bestseller portraying the often turbulent and traumatic lives of modern Chinese women.
The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices is one of those books you just can' t put down. Part memoir, part history, part tragedy, part social documentary, Good Women is the first book by Xinran Xue, a journalist who hosted a nightly radio show in China called "Words on the Night Breeze." The show debuted in 1989 and lasted for seven years. As the first show in China to give voice to Chinese women, "Words" had millions of faithful listeners. Xinran received hundreds of calls and letters every day, in which women from all walks of life poured out their stories. Xinran often wept.
These women' s stories make up Good Women. So important were these women' s lives to Xinran that she actually risked her life for the sake of the book. When she first moved to London from China in 1999, she was mugged on her way home from London University, where she was teaching at the time. She struggled desperately with the assailant, refusing to give up her bag, which contained her only copy of the book' s original manuscript. While she admits today that, Of course, life is more important than a book, she insists that in many ways, this book was not only her own life, but also a testimony to the lives of all the women in China who had been silent for far too long.
In the book, Xinran bears witness to incest, rape, kidnapping, brutality, suffering, torture and neglect. She writes of a young girl whose only escape from her father' s torturous incestuous demands was to slowly die in a hospital. She writes of mothers who lost their entire families to a violent earthquake, who recreated a large make-shift family filled with surviving earthquake orphans. She writes of the women in a far-off village who have lives filled with suffering - they work all day from sun-up to sundown, then must "service" the men, sometimes as a shared wife to numerous men, and bear children endlessly year after year, whose only joy is receiving an egg mixed with water and sugar upon the birth of a son - and yet, ironically, they are the only women who claim they are "happy."
Xinran also offers glimpses of her own life, a brutal experience as a much-abused victim of the Cultural Revolution. Somehow, Xinran, like the women she represents in this memorable book, not only survives, but thrives.
About CCC Book Club:
The CCC Book Club is one of the earlist book clubs targeting expariates living in Beijing and the only book meeting groups focusing on China-related books for the international community.
At the CCC' s Book Club, participants are assigned a great book to read (or selected chapters) and then asked to discuss its meanings with other book club members, using their own interpretations. All assigned books (mostly China-related fiction and non-fiction, a mix of classics and modern ones in English or with English translation) are available at CCC library and bookshop or at major foreign-language book stores where participants are encouraged to purchase their own copies. You are also welcome even though you may not have read a single page of the book yet. Just join our discussion!
Booklist: Click here to view the whole booklist of the past meetings.
CCC Book Club day group:
10:30 am, every third Wednesday of the month.
CCC Book Club Evening Group:
7:30 pm, every third Thursday of the month
Note: sometimes the date is different because of holidays. So check the monthly calendar for the most up to date info during the month.
Venue: China Culture Center, Beijing, China.
- Book Club: "China’s Best Contemporary Writers"
- Book Club: "The Soong Dynasty"
- Book Club: "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
- Book Club:"The True Story of Ah Q"
- Book Club: Laozi's "Tao Te Ching"
- Book Club: "Ten Thousand Miles Without a Cloud"
- Book Club: "Leaving Mother Lake"
- Book Club: Ancient Chinese poems