Synopses & Reviews
In China, a woman is nothing". Thus begins the saga of a Chang Yuyi, a woman born into a well-to-do, highly respected Chinese family. Growing up in the perilous years between the fall of the last emperor and the Communist Revolution, Chang Yuyi's life is marked by a series of rebellions that will make her one of the most famous women in Chinese history: her refusal as a child to let her mother bind her feet, her scandalous divorce as a young woman from the famous poet Hsu Chimo, and finally, her rise to Vice President of China's first women's bank in her later years.
In the alternating voices of two generations, this dual memoir brings together the textured portrait of Yuyi's life in China and the story of her brilliant and assimilated greatniece Pang-Mei Natasha Chang, struggling with her own search for identity and belonging.
Written in vivid detail and pitch-perfect prose, Bound Feet and Western Dress shows us independent women struggling to emerge from centuries of customs and duty, and reveals the power of storytelling itself, as great-aunt Yuyi confides her innermost dreams and demons to the author in this critically acclaimed literary debut.
"In China, a woman is nothing." Thus begins this harrowing dual memoir that braids the story of Chinese-American Pang-Mei's own search for identity with the dramatic tale of her great-aunt, Chang Yuyi, born at the turn of the century in tradition-bound China. In alternating voices, Pang-Mei captivates the reader as she tells the story of Yuyi's battle with her mother to stop the painful foot-binding process, the first in a series of rebellions that marked her extraordinary life. This deeply textured portrait of Chinese life in the perilous years between the fall of the last emperor and the Communist Revolution captures, above all, the struggle of fiercely independent women emerging from centuries of customs and ideals, both subtle and pronounced.
In pitch-perfect prose and vivid detail, Bound Feet And Western Dress is about the power of storytelling as Yuyi confides her innermost dreams and demons with her brilliant and assimilated American-born niece in this splendiferous literary debut.