by Yang Erche Namu & Christine Mathieu
Little, Brown. 2003
About the Author
Yang Erche Namu is a popular singer in China. She lives in Beijing, Geneva, and San Francisco.
Christine Mathieu, one of the first Westerners to be granted access to study the Moso, lives in San Francisco and is a professor of anthropology at St. Mary's College of California.
This remarkable memoir transports us to the remote reaches of the Himalayas, to a place the Chinese call "the country of daughters," to the home of the Moso, a society in which women rule men. According to local tradition, marriage is considered a foreign practice; property is passed from mother to daughter; a matriarch oversees each family's customs, rituals, and economies. In this culture a young girl enjoys extraordinary freedoms, but the impulsive, restless Namu is driven to leave her mother's house, to venture out into the larger world, defying the tradition that holds Moso culture together. Leaving Mother Lake is a book filled with drama, strangeness, and beauty. Yet for all the exoticism, Namu's story is a universal tale of mothers and daughters, the battles that drive them apart and the love that brings them back together.
Synopses & Reviews
This lyrical evocation of girlhood in a remote Himalayan village where women truly rule is now in paperback.
In the remote Himalayas, on the shores of Lake Lugu, there is a place the Chinese call "the Country of Daughters." This is the home of the Moso, a remarkable culture in which women govern all aspects of society. Daughters are prized above sons and both live their entire lives in the house where they were born. Leaving Mother Lake is the extraordinary story of Yang Erche Namu, where life among the Moso is revealed for the first time in fascinating, intimate detail.
From Namu we learn of a young girl's "skirt ceremony," of how courtship is conducted through dance and song, and of the private "flower chambers" where young women consort with their lovers. Despite the freedoms Namu enjoys, they aren't the freedoms she desires. Her impulsive, restless nature drives her to leave her mother's house, defying the tradition that holds Moso culture together. She learns she must venture out into the larger world to see better the one she leaves behind.
The world of the Moso and Namu's place in it makes for a story full of drama, strangeness, and beauty. Yet for all the exoticism, Leaving Mother Lake is a universal tale of mothers and daughters, the battles that drive them apart and the love that brings them back together.
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 Thursday 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: Ancient Chinese poems
- Book Talk By Lijia Zhang: "Lotus" & China's underground sex industry