Acclaimed author Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior broke new ground when it was first published 35 years ago, weaving autobiography, history, folklore, and fantasy in to a candid and revelatory story about the daughter of Chinese immigrants in mid-20th century California.
Now in audio for the first time, The Woman Warrior is read by television and movie star Ming-Na (ER, Mulan) in a performance that captures the book's amazing spectrum of hope, longing, fear, and strength.
Kingston, winner of the National Book Award and National Humanities Medal, beautifully mixes reality and fantasy in relating her experience growing up a stranger in America and an outsider to her family's history in China. Thanks to the author's unique storytelling style and voice, this book remains one of the most commonly taught college texts in America. Hear it performed here for the first time.
©1975, 1976 Maxine Hong Kingston (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
This book doesn't follow any linear time line as a memoir might be expected to. It reads more like a series of vaguely related novellas. Most of the book doesn't even seem to be directly about the author, so much so that when she does begin to talk about her childhood at the end I found myself wondering where she thought she was going with it. This might not be the most anthropologically accurate picture of Chinese immigrants during the 50's or even of the author's own family, it's hard to tell, but it is interesting. The stories are entertaining and really that's the most important part.
"Hilariously Vicious; Touchingly Empathetic"
This is a story about the collision of cultural across time. A generic 7th century culture collides with a generic 20th century culture.
Of course, time and place are interconnected. If the 20th century is the “American Century” then the 7th century (and maybe the 8th and 9th centuries as well) disserve(s) to be called the “Tang Century(s)”. So this is also about the collision of Chinese Village culture on the cusp of modernity and American culture near the maximum of its rate of ascendancy..
It seems to me like this book should be studied in literature classes as a quintessential example of the modern literacy style. It is a non-linearly collection of stories each of which plays with the distinction between fiction and non-fiction. It deliberately bends the distinction between autobiography and social commentary. It talks about ordinary people to make points about Great civilizations. It tells the most painful stories of desperation and betrayal as humor (although the humor is probably sharper if you are in fact Chinese). It toys with many of the other classical demarcations in literature (perhaps all of the classical demarcations) and yet manages to not feel (too much) like a teenager rebelling against tradition for the sake of rebellion. It is worth reading just to improve one's taste for high art.
It is dated. It’s usually different for Chinese born after Deng Xiaoping. But it’s a must read for understanding older Chinese women.
I have a ratings monetary policy problem. Too many of my ratings are 5 star, and too often, as in this case, I feel the need to give 6 stars. Perhaps I need to give more 4 star ratings so I save some room at the top.
"Wow, engaged as if I were little Maxine Hong"
Top, one of the best. A new cultural awareness was gained
I loved the actress reading the book. I think she must have done it perfectly. I was very moved at the passages where we heard Maxine comment on the stories as a young person in CA growing up Chinese-American in 60s/70s.
all were well done
loved Kingston's anger
"Can be confusing"
This book was recommended by a writer, but it certainly was not to my liking. The many stories were confusing by mixing reality with day dreams and visions.
"Narrating Voice Very Annoying"
I agree with the review above: The actress who narrates the story has an extremely annoying voice. Ming-Na also had the tendency to exaggerate or emphasize segments or phrases as if she is unaware of what she is reading. The narrating voice appears to have no understanding of what is significant in the material being read or regarding the characters as they are depicted (to which Ming-Na ascribes personalities contrary to their depiction, by way of her curious voice alterations). Her choices seem completely arbitrary.I could only take so much before needing a break from listening from to Ming-Na's excessively histrionic voice.
Also, this book IS frequently taught in college lit classes, as someone above suggested. I am re-reading it because I have to teach it again this week. Two classes that I know of (Ethnic Lit and a Creative Writing class) in the English department list the memoir as a required book in just this semester.
"The Woman Warrior"
Ming Na's voice sometimes made me irritated and had to turn off the my Kindle. Otherwise, the book was just ok.
"Waste of time"
I didn't even finish this book. It was a mish-mash of stories, in no particular order. I didn't find myself liking (or caring what happened to) any of the characters at all, so why bother finishing it?
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