An epic journey from Shanghai to Los Angeles frames this amazing tale from Lisa See. Sisters May and Pearl Chin survive and triumph over stark injustice and unspeakable horror. Complete with family secrets, tragedy, forbidden love, and a long history of female oppression, Shanghai Girls is a journey no one should take, but everyone should read. Stunning. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
In 1937, Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, a city of great wealth and glamor, the home of millionaires and beggars, gangsters and gamblers, patriots and revolutionaries, artists and warlords. Thanks to the financial security and material comforts provided by their father's prosperous rickshaw business, twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives.
Though both sisters wave off authority and tradition, they couldn't be more different: Pearl is a Dragon sign, strong and stubborn, while May is a true Sheep, adorable and placid. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree . . . until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth and that in order to repay his debts he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from California to find Chinese brides.
As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the Chinese countryside, in and out of the clutch of brutal soldiers, and across the Pacific to the shores of America. In Los Angeles they begin a fresh chapter, trying to find love with the strangers they have married, brushing against the seduction of Hollywood, and striving to embrace American life even as they fight against discrimination, brave Communist witch hunts, and find themselves hemmed in by Chinatown's old ways and rules.
At its heart, Shanghai Girls is a story of sisters: Pearl and May are inseparable best friends who share hopes, dreams, and a deep connection, but like sisters everywhere they also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. They love each other, but each knows exactly where to drive the knife to hurt the other the most. Along the way they face terrible sacrifices, make impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are — Shanghai girls.
"[I]n Shanghai Girls [See] again explores the bonds of sisterhood while powerfully evoking the often nightmarish American immigrant experience." USA Today
"A buoyant and lustrous paean to the bonds of sisterhood." Booklist
"See's tale of the two sisters' love and rivalry, their romantic adventures and long struggles to regain their balance in a new land is entertaining, if melodramatic." Julie Phillips, Ms. Magazine (read the entire )
From the author of the bestsellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love comes a stunning new novel about two sisters who leave Shanghai to find new lives in 1930s Los Angeles.
About the Author
Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of Peony in Love, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Flower Net (an Edgar Award nominee), The Interior, and Dragon Bones, as well as the critically acclaimed memoir On Gold Mountain. The Organization of Chinese American Women named her the 2001 National Woman of the Year. She lives in Los Angeles.