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I can’t recommend this because the translation is very distracting numbers with every sentence.It’s too bad too because I think the topic is interesting A book I ‘do’ recommend highly is Mao’s Last Dancer, by Li Cunxin It’s an INCREDIBLE moving story!! But this one needs a serious translation make over. (((Read Book))) ☝ 富萍 ↶ 一九六四年間,上海。明天有什麼事情等著她呢?孫子受過教育,性情溫柔,但是弟妹多,拖累大,偏又個性軟弱,富萍看到的是一個非常麻煩的將來。順著這樁婚事的周周折折,小說寫富萍,一個外表木訥,然而內心自有見解,「帶著一股子鮮豔的鄉氣」的女孩。寫淮海路上海市區,背井離鄉在弄堂做保姆的女人,沒有丈夫可靠,只能倚靠自己。以及蘇北船上人家,移民到上海,扎下根來,只有在夢裏思鄉……王安憶以質樸筆觸,描寫這群生活在上海底層的人們,在千絲萬縷的社會關係間,懷抱對生活簡單的意願和希望,「一股勁地往前奔日子」。是一部充滿人情之美,動人的小說。 Like Elise I got distracted by all those numbers next to the pages when I started reading To me they were not as disturbing to my reading pleasure as it was to hers though 'Fu Ping' gives a great insight into the lives of women in China's working class during the early years of the People's Republic of China I think it is totally worth reading.I received a free copy through Netgalley in return for my honest review. 1.5 StarsThis is a book I struggled with It’s not that it’s a difficult read, I just struggled to understand what it was supposed to be Part anthropological document, part character sketch, it’s hard to understand exactly what this work of fiction was trying to achieve It’sa series of indepth neighborhood descriptions and historical context descriptions and sketches of lower socioeconomic status stock characters from Shanghai’s postCivil War Where it did succeed, is that I learned quite a bit about the experience and environment of rural migrants to Shanghai in the mid 20th century So, I’d say as a supplement to an academic course, this is probably not bad.The title character Fu Ping, is a young woman who is brought to the city by her prospective motherinlaw (Nainai), to prepare Fu Ping, for marrying her adopted son A somewhat wooden character whose psyche and motivations aren’t quite clear, Fu Ping has zero interest in marrying Nainai’s adopted son or anyone for that matter What does she want? We never quite know If I was to hazard a guess, I would say maybe “belonging” but then she’s such a flat and unsympathetic character, that if that’s the case, she’s a selfsaboteur.My main issue with this novel is I think the voice in which it’s written From the author’s note at the beginning, you sense a sort of condescending, topdown approach, a hierarchical way of looking at lower income people who migrated from rural areas to populate the slums of Shanghai in the mid 20th century All the characters in this novel are presented like a series of onedimensional sketches, given flaws, but they’re all presented as being somewhat naive, good eggs without any capacity for true villainy The result of this is that in the same breath that the author describes someone as being a bad guy, the person is giving a redeeming counter quality So, you end up with characters who are simultaneously oblivious and sharply observant, simultaneously stubborn and agreeable, placid and bad tempered And it’s like which is it??! Further, there’s not enough of a plot involving these characters for you as a reader to make your own judgements as to the personalities of the characters.I think this could be an interesting read for someone whose main goal is academic for example, maybe using literature to get some sort of anecdotal narrative insight into the culture and environment of Shanghai slums in the mid 20th century There is a lot to learn here about that setting and this book presents a series of observations that I suppose are fictionalized and that’s why this is being called a novel As a novel however, this didn’t really work for me It is very much a characterbased book but then the characters felt very flat and ambiguous and the plot didn’t feel cohesive or strong This also contains extensive descriptions of the environment in Shanghai slums in the era that could be extremely interesting to an academic reader or history buff but may be less so to the casual reader Because this book was translated from the original Chinese, I’m not sure to what extent my issues with the language in this book are related to the original words and intentions of the author or which are related to translation or even to my own failings of not understanding the cultural context of the language and syntax However, this is not my first book translated from Chinese I tend to enjoy Far East Asian historical fiction which is why I was excited to read this and am pretty disappointed that it didn’t work for me.I got an advanced reading copy of this book from Columbia University Press through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review! Literature is a unique way of giving you an insight into other people's lives The advice to 'write what you know' may seem trite at this point, but I have always loved the opportunity it has given me to get to understand the world better this way Thanks to Columbia University Press and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Fu Ping is a meandering novel Technically it is about a young girl, Fu Ping, who is brought to visit Nainai in Shanghai, so the latter can test whether she'd be a suitable bride for her adopted grandson But Fu Ping does not just focus on Fu Ping or Nainai Instead it becomes a larger exploration of the lives of working class women in Shanghai in the '60s In a way, Fu Ping feelslike an assorted group of character sketches This is what felt truest to me, the asides on each of the people Fu Ping meets while visiting Nainai Most of these characters are women and many are from outside Shanghai, having traveled to the city to work there as housekeepers and nannies They send money home to support families in the smaller villages outside the city, but their lives are now very far removed from these villages We don't get to see everything about these women, which means they remain somehow incomplete, but this almost adds to the feeling that you're moving through the city itself slowly and steadily You only get the faintest of glimpses at the full lives being lived.Wang Anyi creates a vivid portrait of a vibrant city, as well as complicated portraits of complicaed people Fu Ping, for example, is not your everyday main character She is incredibly passive, recalcitrant and stoic She is thrust into an environment she has no power in Anyi doesn't show us much of Fu ping's internal life, but does follow her as she moves through Shanghai Although it is not directly stated, Anyi hints at how this quiet attitude is Fu Ping's way of observing and learning, while it is also the end result of never truly having a voice At times it can seem as if Fu Ping isof a historical record, capturing what live was like in Shanghai during the mid20th century, without infusing a true plot And yet I felt very gripped, emotionally, by the story of Fu Ping and the lives of those around her Howard Goldblatt does a wonderful job at translating and capturing the details of Anyi's narrative Not everyone will appreciate the translation choice of adding line numbers, but it didn't distract me.For full review: So many works of historical fiction revolve around the limited roles women had for, well, most of recorded history In fiction, we see women break through these limits to find careers or true love or adventure, etc In Wang Anyi’s Fu Ping (translated by Howard Goldblatt), we are presented with a similar scenario The titular character, Fu Ping, has traveled to Shanghai from her village after sort of making a deal to marry a young man She doesn’t particularly want to marry him She doesn’t particularly want to marry anyone She would, as the Scrivener said, “prefer not to.”Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration. A charming portrait into daily life in China during the years following the Revolution which is perhaps surprising in how low key the action is and how relatively unaffected the lives of ordinary people were That will, I’m sure, have changed with the onset of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, but for now, people seemed to go about their daily business It’s especially atmospheric when discussing life on the scows of the harbour area in Shanghai while the complex processes of internal migration are also well described That said, the narrative is somewhat pedestrian at times and this isn’t one for those who like crashbangwallop action. Essentially many stories about Fu Ping, an orphaned servant woman from Yangzhou in Northeast China Much about her confusing relationship with another servant woman named Nainai, from Shanghai There are many many characters related to and acquainted with Fu Ping and Nainai detailed, and while many of them are interesting and even funny, I found myself frustrated as I was trying my best to keep them all ordered in mind for an eventual point in the plot (which never came) where all would be revealed and explained and come together neatly I would suggest some family org charts to simplify reading Or just read this as if they're separate essays and don't invest yourself heavily in trying to keep everybody sorted Fu Ping offers an intriguing look into several aspects of Chinese cultural history including dating, arranged marriage, social castes, and servitude. Fu Ping is a fascinating look at what life was like for workingclass women in Shanghai in the mid20th century Fu Ping is a young woman from the countryside who comes to Shanghai to stay with Nainai, whose grandson she has agreed to marry But Fu Ping is less agreeable than Nainai expects, and she refuses to talk about her future plans and even whether she will marry the grandson at all Nainai—and no one else, for that matter—doesn’t know quite what to make of her The novel is digressive, full of stories about Nainai’s friends and neighbors, Fu Ping’s family members, and various other people in their circles The plot is very simple, but the book is really most interested in capturing what daily life was like, especially for women and children It’s about their struggles to find work, put food on the table, and find ways to improve their difficult lives It’s an invaluable look at a world shaped by tradition but subject to changes brought by city life and shifting political structures.https://bookriot.com/2019/08/18/augus * I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this book *Fu Ping is an orphaned village girl who has been promised in marriage to a young man she has never met She travels to Shanghai to be with the boy's grandmother As she is immersed in the big city and meets people from walks of life she has never encountered, Fu Ping grows to beindependent and assertive, casting doubt on the plans for her future.The great strength of this novel is how vividly Wang Anyi describes life in the back alleys and shanty towns of Shanghai As Fu Ping encounters the unfamiliar, the reader is also taken to places and lifestyles that have mostly passed into history I was particularly impressed with her accounts of the lives of the river folk, and of the impact of the annual flood of the river, which reminded me in some ways of Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend.