The Four Sisters of Hofei

The Four Sisters of Hofei

3.22 (70 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
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Description

Not since Wild Swans has Chinese history been so intimately encountered - through the stories of four sisters born between 1907 and 1914, a renowned historian examines a century of extraordinary change in Chinese culture and in women's lives. Now in their late eighties and early nineties, the four Chang sisters lived through a century of historic change in China. In this extraordinary work, assembled with the benefit of letters, diaries, family histories, poetry, journals and interviews, Annping Chin shapes the story of one family into a riveting chronicle that provides a unique insight into the old China and its transition into the new. From their father, the Chang sisters inherited reason and a belief in the virtues of modern education. From their mother they learned about the human spirit and the art of finding an appropriate path. The nurse-nannies - uneducated widows from the Hofei countryside - contributed their own opinions on modern ways. As the sisters grow up, one breaks with tradition to marry an actor, another marries one of China's greatest novelists; another, raised by her devout Buddhist grandaunt, is taught to be a rigorous practitioner of China's classical arts. The Chang sisters' prolific correspondence provides an intimate glimpse of private life, as well as a chronicle of the developments of the twentieth century, from prosperity to persecution, from foreign wars to Cultural Revolution. Four Sisters of Hofei is an intensely personal and sweeping story that illustrates the complex history of a complex culture.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 158 x 238 x 36mm | 680.39g
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • London, United Kingdom
  • ports.
  • 0747554773
  • 9780747554776

About Ann-Ping Chin

Ann Ping Chin was born in Taiwan in 1950. Her family moved to America in 1962. The author of CHILDREN OF CHINA, based on interviews with children living in the People's Republic of China, and co-author with her husband Jonathan Spence of CHINESE CENTURY: A Photographic History of the Last Hundred Years. She currently teaches in the history department at Yale University.show more

Review quote

A wonderful look at life in China and the lives of four sisters born between 1907 and 1913, which enables the author to examine a century of extraordinary change. Apparently still alive today in their late 80s and early 90s, the book has been helped by the letters and diaries, family histories, poetry and interviews that the author has been involved with and provides a splendid picture of the life and culture within China over the period covered. The first half of the book is organised around the Changs' native place and their ancestors; the second half is about the sisters themselves. Not since Wild Swans has Chinese history been detailed so thoroughly. It is a remarkable tour de force and immensely readable.show more

Rating details

70 ratings
3.22 out of 5 stars
5 10% (7)
4 29% (20)
3 43% (30)
2 11% (8)
1 7% (5)
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