This beguiling story is woven around the life of Fragrant Lotus, who has her feet bound in the supreme Golden Lotus style when she is six years old. Her beautiful feet allow her to marry into a wealthy family, and with steady determination she jockeys her way to head of the household, strategizing through the intricate politics of foot-binding competitions and the turbulent times of the anti-foot-binding movement at the turn of the century. Events in Fragrant Lotus' life twist and unfold in a series of witty and often wicked ironies, obliterating easy distinctions between kindness and cruelty, the transcendent and the mundane, history and fable, forgery and authentic work. The novel's waggish narrator exists in the tension between judgment and description, wryly deflating his reader's certainties along the way. Feng's engaging storytelling technique effectively undercuts the broad simplifications with which we inevitably approach his novel. The act of foot binding is horrific, but it is also an act of love; the bound foot is a symbol of entrapment and oppression, but it is also an emblem of exquisite beauty and refinement. Written in 1985, The Three-Inch Golden Lotus is a deeply affecting, thoroughly enjoyable literary revelation.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Chinese
In the tradition of Swift, contemporary Chinese writer Feng Jicai (Chrysanthemums, 1985) critiques Chinese society by focusing on the grotesque as he tells the story of one family's obsession with bound feet--the perfect ``three-inch golden lotuses'' of tradition. Slyly observing that the idea ``that a portion of Chinese history lies concealed in the bound feet of Chinese women [is] preposterous,'' the narrator proceeds to demonstrate that ``when you're really into the story you can't tell the difference between the truth and lies.'' Set in a small town in the early 1900's, the novel examines these lies and truths as--exemplified in the Tong family--they reflect Chinese attitudes to social change, sex, and to individuality. The head of the Tong family, a noted antiques dealer, has a special regard, shared by like-minded friends, for the perfect bound foot. These men debate the history of foot- binding, argue the finer points, and hold contests to determine the smallest feet in various families. When Tong glimpses the exquisite feet of Fragrant Lotus, a girl of humble origins whose feet had been bound--the process is graphically described--by her grandmother to assure a good marriage, he has her marry one of his loutish sons. Her arrival in the household provokes jealousies as the women scheme to display their own feet and win accolades. Fragrant Lotus soon gives birth to a daughter who mysteriously disappears just as her feet are about to be bound. The years pass, and Fragrant Lotus, now the family head, finds herself defending tradition as she battles the Natural Foot Society, led by the beautiful Pretty Flower. A superficially whimsical and picaresque tale of old Chinese society, luminously evoked, but with a deadly serious underlying subject that gives it a sobering edge. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Descrizione libro Univ of Hawaii Pr, 1994. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110824815742
Descrizione libro Univ of Hawaii Pr, 1994. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 824815742
Descrizione libro Univ of Hawaii Pr, 1994. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 0824815742