Grandmother Had No Name

Grandmother Had No Name

Grandmother had no name

In a skillful blend of autobiography and social history, Alice P. Lin writes movingly of her middle-class Chinese family, some of whom belonged to China’s Muslim community.

From Publishers Weekly
To examine the evolving roles of women in Asian cultures, Chinese-born New York State social worker Lin presents an autobiographical critique. The first third of her book describes her fascinating childhood and the relatives who shaped it: the Muslim family of her maternal grandmother, whose bound feet were like "three-inch golden lotus," whose husband once installed a concubine, and whose birth name was unknown even by her own daughter; an aunt whose oppressive in-laws drove her to a suicide attempt; an uncle who married an unsuitable bride. Perhaps the most dramatic story deals with Lin's schooling after her family fled to Taiwan in 1949; her teacher believed that corporal punishment was "an honor bestowed only upon those chosen few capable of still further improving," and accordingly humiliated Lin. Alas, as the discussion shifts to consider the status of women as a whole, the anecdotal presentation cannot support the analysis she ex trapolates from her colorful stories; at tempts to discuss women in other...

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