Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Top ten unputdownable Chinese books

Hilary Spurling won the Whitbread Biography and Book of the Year 2005 for her biography of Henri Matisse, the product of 15 years’ work. Her biography of Ivy Compton-Burnett won the Heinemann and Duff Cooper prizes. She has been a theatre and book critic for the Spectator, Observer and Telegraph, and lives in London.

Her new book is Burying The Bones: Pearl Buck in China.

For the Guardian, she named her top ten Chinese books. One book on her list:
The Warrior Woman: Memoir of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston

This account of growing up as a Chinese American combines the harsh raucous energy of US street life, seen from in and outside a Chinese laundry, with the violence and hardship of life in a Chinese village plagued by wild and recklessly inventive ancestral phantoms. I would rank this fabulous book with the best of Nabokov, Bellow or Roth.
Read about another book on Spurling's list.

The Woman Warrior is one of Julia Alvarez's five most important books.

--Marshal Zeringue