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All the Flowers in Shanghaiby Duncan Jepson
Synopses & Reviews
“Duncan Jepson magically inhabits the life of a young Chinese woman in 1930s Shanghai….I thoroughly enjoyed this book.”
—Janice Y. K. Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Piano Teacher
“Breathtaking….A great work that will move its readers.”
Readers previously enchanted by Memoirs of a Geisha, Empress, and the novels of Lisa See will be captivated by Duncan Jepsons marvelous debut, All the Flowers in Shanghai. Evocative, sweeping, yet intimate historical fiction, Jepsons novel transports us to a China on the brink of revolution, and witnesses this colorful, tumultuous world through the eyes of a woman forced into a life not of her choosing and driven to seek a bitter revenge. This epic journey into the heart of Asia is sure to mesmerize fans of Shanghai Girls and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
"Jepson, a film producer and founding editor of Asia Literary Review, makes his fiction debut with a saga set in 1930s Shanghai. Heroine Xiao Feng must take her dead sister's place in an arranged marriage to Xiong Fa, a son from the prosperous Sang family. After marrying, the mistreated, desperately unhappy Feng clings to memories from the days she spent in the garden with her grandfather and Bi, the seamstress's son. Vowing not to bring a baby girl into the rigid, patriarchal world of the Sangs, Feng makes a life-altering decision after she bears her first child. When she realizes the power she wields in producing a male heir, she transforms herself into a wealthy, sophisticated, and ruthless First Wife. Unfortunately, the Japanese invasion of China weakens ancient social structures, and the world as the powerful Sang family has known it unravels. Despite the riveting story line, the novel suffers from awkward syntax, and its treatment of time (decades and wars are dismissed in single pages) hints at more familiarity with quickly moving screenplays than full-length fiction." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
For every young Chinese woman in 1930s Shanghai, following the path of duty takes precedence over personal desires
For Feng, that means becoming the bride of a wealthy businessman in a marriage arranged by her parents. In the enclosed world of the Sang household—a place of public ceremony and private cruelty—fulfilling her duty means bearing a male heir.
The life that has been forced on her makes Feng bitter and resentful, and she plots a terrible revenge. But with the passing years comes a reckoning, and Feng must reconcile herself with the sacrifices and terrible choices she has made in order to assure her place in the family and society—even as the violent, relentless tide of revolution engulfs her country.
Both a sweeping historical novel and an intimate portrait of one womans struggle against tradition, All the Flowers in Shanghai marks the debut of a sensitive and revelatory writer.
About the Author
Duncan Jepson is the award-winning director and producer of five feature films. He has also produced documentaries for Discovery Channel Asia and National Geographic Channel. He was the editor of the Asia-based fashion magazine West East and is a founder and managing editor of the Asia Literary Review. A lawyer by profession, he lives in Hong Kong.
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