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The Lost Daughter of Happiness
The Lost Daughter of Happiness
$18.99
Paperback
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BOOK DETAILS

  • Paperback
  • May.22.2001
  • 9780786887576

Geling gives an overview of the book:

A young Chinese woman named Fusang is kidnapped and sold into prostitution in San Francisco in the late 19th Century. A modern Chinese author examines her, trying to make sense of her life and her times. Appealing in her simplicity and beauty, Fusang is pursued by a young, well-to-do white man and a charismatic Chinese gangster. Her story takes place at brutal and lawless time and place, when the Chinese were a despised group. Fusang mysteriously transcends the horrors of her time and the stigma of her profession.
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A young Chinese woman named Fusang is kidnapped and sold into prostitution in San Francisco in the late 19th Century. A modern Chinese author examines her, trying to make sense of her life and her times. Appealing in her simplicity and beauty, Fusang is pursued by a young, well-to-do white man and a charismatic Chinese gangster. Her story takes place at brutal and lawless time and place, when the Chinese were a despised group. Fusang mysteriously transcends the horrors of her time and the stigma of her profession.

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This is who you are.

  

The one dressed in red, slowly rising from the creaking bamboo bed, is you. The embroidery on your satin padded jacket must weigh ten catties; the parts stitched most densely are as hard as ice, or armor. From a distance of one hundred and twenty years, I am amazed by the needlework, so thoroughly beyond me. 

  

Let me raise your chin a bit here, and bring your lips into the dim light. That's it, just right. Now I can see your whole face clearly. Don't worry -- others will just find exotic the face you consider too square. To the novelty seekers of your day, your every flaw was a distinction. 

  

Now turn around, just like all those times on the auction block. You're used to the auction; that's where pretty whores like you come to know their worth. I found pictures of those auctions in some books about Chinatown -- dozens of female bodies, totally naked, their beauty in sharp relief against the surrounding gloom. 

  

You're nothing like the other girls on auction. First of all, you lived past twenty. This is a miracle. I looked through all one hundred and sixty of those books and you were the only one to live so long. The other girls in your line of work started losing their hair at eighteen, their teeth at nineteen, and by twenty, with their vacant eyes and decrepit faces, they were as good as dead, silent as dust. 

  

But you're nothing like them.

geling-yan's picture

This is the story set in a savage time and place that was San Francisco's Chinatown, where prostitution and gang wars were rampant. We meet the mysterious Fusang, a trafficked prostitute and an enigma to everyone, who somehow transcends it all.

About Geling

Geling Yan is one of the most acclaimed contemporary novelists and screenwriters writing in the Chinese language today and a well-established writer in English. Born in Shanghai, she served with the...

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Published Reviews

Jan.14.2008

Thus begins Dan's career in journalism — and Geling Yan's shark-fin-sharp satire on cuisine and corruption in contemporary China.

Jan.14.2008

Geling Yan’s sly comic novel about the excesses — culinary and otherwise — of modern life in the Chinese capital... Although it may seem fantastical, her fiction is rooted in fact.