The Good Women of China

The Good Women of China : Hidden Voices

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For eight groundbreaking years, Xinran presented a radio programme in China during which she invited women to call in and talk about themselves. Broadcast every evening, Words on the Night Breeze became famous through the country for its unflinching portrayal of what it meant to be a woman in modern China. Centuries of obedience to their fathers, husbands and sons, followed by years of political turmoil had made women terrified of talking openly about their feelings. Xinran won their trust and, through her compassion and ability to listen, became the first woman to hear their true stories. This unforgettable book is the story of how Xinran negotiated the minefield of restrictions imposed on Chinese journalists to reach out to women across the country. Through the vivid intimacy of her writing, the women's voices confide in the reader, sharing their deepest secrets for the first time. Their stories changed Xinran's understanding of China forever. Her book will reveal the lives of Chinese women to the West as never more

Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 18mm | 181.44g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0099440784
  • 9780099440789
  • 32,694

Review Text

One morning, Xinran Xue, the presenter and producer of a women's radio programme in Communist China, received a letter reading: 'I'm sorry, I can't go on living. You shouldn't have saved me.... Remembering is too painful. I'm leaving.' The letter was written by a 16-year-old girl to her parents. She had been raped by soldiers and left in a ditch. Later she killed herself in hospital and her father died of a heart attack from the shock. This is just one of many stories and letters sent to Xinran for her radio show, 'Words on a Night Breeze', which she had set up to help the abused girls and women of China. The show was instantly and enormously popular; Xinran had many followers among the women of China. However, even though she was aware of the suffering caused by the oppressive regime, she was unprepared for what she heard and read. This book is an account of her experiences. For many of the women who contacted her, the programme was a lifeline - their only opportunity to communicate with someone who understood their problems. Women were unable to speak freely about their feelings - or indeed to express themselves at all - as they had for so long been dominated by their fathers, husbands and sons, who punished them when they 'transgressed'. This misogyny was reinforced by a tyrannical government that regarded women as people of no importance. Despite the horrors of their lives, the love, compassion and fighting spirit of the women shine through. This is an unforgettable book with many distressing stories and some heartwarming ones. Xinran risked censure, even prison, for telling their stories. They changed her view of China and now they will change ours. (Kirkus UK)show more

Review quote

"These are stories that must be read" Amy Tan "This is a book from deep in the heart of China. As shocking as it is revealing... An extraordinary and eye-opening read" Jon Snow "Xinran's "Good Women of China" are all strong, strikingly resourceful characters who offer unforgettable insights into the past and present of Chinese women's lives" The Times "The Good Women of China demands attention" Observer "[Xinran] writes compassionately but unsentimentally, dramatising the stories like gripping fiction" Daily Mailshow more

About Xinran

Born in Beijing in 1958, Xinran was a journalist and radio presenter in China. In 1997 she moved to London, where she wrote her bestselling book The Good Women of China. Since then she has written a regular column for the Guardian, appeared frequently on radio and TV and published Sky Burial, What the Chinese Don't Eat, a novel (Miss Chopsticks), and a groundbreaking work of oral history, China Witness. Her charity, The Mothers' Bridge of Love, was founded to help disadvantaged Chinese children and to build a bridge of understanding between the West and more

Our customer reviews

This is one of those books that I will treasure for the rest of my life - it's so beautifully written but also heart-breaking, amazing, sad, poignant... I could go on! Xinran has opened my eyes to how women live, behave and are treated in China. The Good Women of China is one of the best books I've read in a long time and I've been recommending it to just about everyone I know!show more
by Sally
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