Xinran is a radio show host that talks about women's issues. This gives her access to women all over China to hear their stories because they trust her and it's easy to open up to her. As China "opens up" following the revolution, women are finally able to speak about their stories. Xinran tells us these women's stories, as it seems that even in the 90s, China still wasn't quite ready for them. These stories include tales of rape and abuse. The Red Guard takes away parents who don't believe in Communism, an earthquake destroys a village, a child keeps a fly as a pet while she's in the hospital. Each story is unique and each has the ability to break your heart.
I was in shock while reading some of these stories. These women have been through so much pain and they each deal with it in completely different ways. The flow of the book was exceptional, with Xinran explaining how she met these women and a bit about her radio program. Each story relates slightly to the next which helps the reader go from one to the next.
We even get a brief glimpse in to Xinran's past, though I would have liked a bit more. This book will stay with me for a long time.
This book is a translation but reads like it was written in English. The translator deserves an applause for such a great job.
First Line: "Early one spring morning in 1989, I rode my Flying Pigeon bicycle through the streets of Nanjing dreaming about my son Panpan."