Saturday, 31 January 2009

Wild Swans by Jung Chang

I've had it. It isn't very often that I give up on a book - especially one for book club. But I've decided I've had it with Wild Swans. Here's a simple synopsis of the book:

Three generations of Chinese womanhood survive the reign of the warlords, Japanese occupation, the Kuomintang, the Cultural Revolution and, finally, a writer’s exile. This century-spanning brick of a book is biography staged as novelism: related with unsparing candour, it’s horrible, evocative, engrossing and still banned in China.

It's really's horrible, evocative and engrossing.

But the whole time I've been reading it (which has been months by the way....I can only take so much of it at a time) I've been thinking, 'man, does she really have to get into so much detail?' I have a hard time keeping track of the names of relatives and friends and cities. I have found the story to be a little depressing and can only read it in short spurts. I was chatting with a book club friend about it and she mentioned she loved the book and thought it was cute. I really don't get where it becomes cute. I am in awe of the things they go through and of the dedication they have to their country (misplaced dedication if you ask me). But last night did me in. I was reading about how the author went to help her aunt that was not well. She had all sorts of health challenges - one of which was constipation. The author described all her ailments and how she tried to help her - including sticking her finger up her anus.

That was when I decided I'd had enough. Way too much detail! I have a big pile of books that have been waiting for me to jump into and I'm going to stop spending my time on this one. I'm glad I read what I did. I am stunned at the things these people have gone through and I have a new respect and curiousity for the Chinese people that I rub shoulders with.

.....I just think there was WAY to much detail in this book! LOL

There's a great summary here....the blogger gives you a much more positive perspective of the book than I can. I can't really decide if I recommend the book or not. If you are a fast reader and have a lot of time to kill, well go for it. There's plenty of interesting history there.

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