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The Binding Chair; or, a Visit from the Foot Emancipation Society: A Novel

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The Binding Chair; or, a Visit from the Foot Emancipation Society: A Novel Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In poised and elegant prose, Kathryn Harrison weaves in The Binding Chair; or, A Visit from the Foot Emancipation Society a stunning story of women, travel, and flight; of love, revenge, and fear; of the search for home and the need to escape it. Set in alluring Shanghai at the turn of the century, The Binding Chair intertwines the destinies of a Chinese woman determined to forget her past and a Western girl focused on the promises of the future.

Beautiful, charismatic, destructive, May escapes an ar-ranged marriage in rural nineteenth-century China for life in a Shanghai brothel, where she meets Arthur, an Australian whose philanthropic pursuits lead him into one scrape after another. As a member of the Foot Emancipation Society, Arthur calls on May not for his pleasure but for her rehabilitation, only to find himself immediately and helplessly seduced by the sight of her bound feet. Reforming May is out of the question, so love-struck Arthur marries her instead and brings her home to live with him, his sister and brother-in-law, and their two girls, Alice and Cecily. In Alice, May sees the possibility of redemption: a surrogate for a child she has lost. And it is to May that Alice turns for the love her own mother withholds. But when the twelve-year-old is caught preparing her aunt's opium pipe, she is shipped off to a London boarding school, far from the dangerous influence of the woman who will come to reclaim her and to control the whole family.

The Binding Chair unfolds among scenes of astonishing beauty and cruelty, in a lawless place where traditions and cultures clash, and where tragedy threatens a world built on the banks of unsettled waters--from the bustling Whangpoo River to the lake of blood in the Chinese afterworld. By turns shocking, exquisite, and hilarious, The Binding Chair is another spellbinding literary triumph by the writer whose work Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times has called "powerful and hypnotic."

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Kathryn Harrison is the author of the novels Thicker Than Water, Exposure, and Poison. She has also written a memoir, The Kiss. Her personal essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, and other publications. She lives in New York with her husband, the novelist Colin Harrison, and their chil-dren. She can be reached at thebindingchair@yahoo.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307799821
Subtitle:
A Novel
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Author:
Harrison, Kathryn
Publication Date:
20110629
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
336

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Binding Chair; or, a Visit from the Foot Emancipation Society: A Novel
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Product details 336 pages Random House Publishing Group - English 9780307799821 Reviews:
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