Read Lady of Ch'iao Kuo: Red Bird of the South, Southern China, A.D. 531 by Laurence Yep Free Online
Book Title: Lady of Ch'iao Kuo: Red Bird of the South, Southern China, A.D. 531|
The author of the book: Laurence Yep
Date of issue: September 1st 2001
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.58 MB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1700 times
Reader ratings: 7.2
ISBN 13: 9780439164832
Read full description of the books:
fascinating and thought-provoking! might write more later
EDIT: Figured I should write more before I totally forget everything, haha.
I liked Princess Red Bird quite a lot. She's thoughtful and brave and clever and resourceful. Not only is she a scholar who enjoys reading fantastical stories, but she's also a great strategist in both war and diplomacy. On top of that, she appreciates beautiful clothes and hairstyles and accessories. Definitely my kind of girl.
The other character who made an impression on me was the "mean girl". I was worried she'd be portrayed as the selfish, spoiled girl who was mean just because the story needed someone to pick on the protag, but this was not the case. She had reasons for her attitude toward Redbird, and she had an interesting personality. Though she and Red Bird never became good friends, they respected each other. I actually grew to like her quite a bit as well, and I'd love to see more relationships like theirs -- mutual respect but not necessarily mutual liking.
But I have to say that the part that fascinated me the most was the cultural aspect. Red Bird is a princess of the Hsien, a tribe that lived in the forests of what is now Southern China. She goes to study with the Chinese colonists, who view the Hsien with their facial tattoos and strange customs as savage barbarians. Most stories I've read about colonists tend to focus on European colonists, so it was interesting to read about how the Hsien thought of the Chinese colonists. Red Bird was the representative that was sent to the Chinese school and had to struggle with being see as a barbarian by her classmates in the colony and being seen as trying too hard to be Chinese by her tribesman at home. However, she's able to use her understanding of the Chinese and the Hsien to become a bridge between the two groups and to promote the best of both worlds. She disapproves of how Chinese greed and fear of the forest results in the destruction and loss of natural resources, but admires their art and writings and efficiency. She takes pride in her Hsien ancestry, their strength, and their knowledge of the forest, but also recognized that there were areas where they can learn from the Chinese. Caught-between-two-cultures type of stories always have a special place in my heart, haha.
It was fascinating to read about the Hsien and the Chinese of that era. Rather than a story set in the Imperial court, it was set at a Chinese colonial outpost at the edge of the Chinese empire. At that point in time they didn't even use chairs all that much! And rather than arranged marriages everywhere, the young people courted one another (though their families certainly did their best to nudge them in certain directions). I also enjoyed reading about the architecture and the clothing.
By the end of the book I definitely wanted to hear more about Red Bird's exploits and how she came to rule Southern China through both military strategy and diplomacy. My main quibble would be that I wanted more romance! There was a hint of it in the last pages, but the romantic in me definitely wanted more. Anyway, I enjoyed reading this book a lot and it definitely gave me a lot of food for thought, particularly about elements I'd love to see more of.
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Read information about the authorBorn June 14, 1948 in San Francisco, California, Yep was the son of Thomas Gim Yep and Franche Lee Yep. Franche Lee, her family's youngest child, was born in Ohio and raised in West Virginia where her family owned a Chinese laundry. Yep's father, Thomas, was born in China and came to America at the age of ten where he lived, not in Chinatown, but with an Irish friend in a white neighborhood. After troubling times during the Depression, he was able to open a grocery store in an African-American neighborhood. Growing up in San Francisco, Yep felt alienated. He was in his own words his neighborhood's "all-purpose Asian" and did not feel he had a culture of his own. Joanne Ryder, a children's book author, and Yep met and became friends during college while she was his editor. They later married and now live in San Francisco.
Although not living in Chinatown, Yep commuted to a parochial bilingual school there. Other students at the school, according to Yep, labeled him a "dumbbell Chinese" because he spoke only English. During high school he faced the white American culture for the first time. However, it was while attending high school that he started writing for a science fiction magazine, being paid one cent a word for his efforts. After two years at Marquette University, Yep transferred to the University of California at Santa Cruz where he graduated in 1970 with a B.A. He continued on to earn a Ph.D. in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1975. Today as well as writing, he has taught writing and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and Santa Barbara.