Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.00
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Butcher's Wife (Peter Owen Modern Classics) Paperback – October 21, 2002

4 customer reviews

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$15.66 $13.16
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$25.00

Cold Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers) by Alexandra Sokoloff
"Cold Moon" by Alexandra Sokoloff
In the pulse-pounding third Huntress/FBI Thrillers book, Roarke will have to go on the hunt…and every woman he meets, even those closest to him, may prove deadly. Learn more | See related books

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This brutally realistic and groundbreaking novella was both acclaimed and excoriated when first published in Taiwan in 1983. The author, born in Taiwan and educated in America, has taken a sensational murder case of the 1930s and set it in her native town. Trapped in marriage to a vicious husband by a superstitious, male-dominated society, Lin Shi is slowly driven to madness and murder. That she killed her husband to escape physical and sexual abuse was unimaginable; a Chinese wife who kills her husband has always been presumed to have a lover, and Lin Shi is punished accordingly. This compelling portrait of a world where poverty erodes all but the most primeval instincts transcends feminism to become a great human tragedy. Unforgettable, and highly recommended. Shelley Cox, Special Collections, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

In 1930s China, one woman defied the cultural assumption that a woman would only murder her husband in order to be with a lover; in this instance the woman insisted she had killed her husband to stop his abuses. Five decades later, Li Ang's novella The Butcher's Wife, which uses the real-life murder as its basis, created both a literary sensation and wide-spread outrage about its subject matter. Li Ang's depiction is graphic and brutal, mirroring and reinforcing the life of its lead character, Lin Shin, and the sexism and cultural superstitions that surround her. After a childhood of starvation and hard work, Lin Shin marries a pig butcher named Chen Jiangshui. He is a violent, abusive husband, but Lin Shin's relief at finally having enough food to eat and less work to do helps her to endure the frequent rapes and beatings. Conditions worsen, however, and she is isolated by the vicious gossip of neighbors who condemn her for screaming aloud: "As women, we're supposed to be tolerant and put our husbands above everything else. Who ever heard of anyone raising such a stink over a little pain once in a while!" Trapped without guidance or support, Lin Shin follows her husband's example. While The Butcher's Wife is not an easy read, it is an important book on a neglected issue, which, by its very outspokeness, has profoundly affected Chinese literature. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Erica Bauermeister --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Peter Owen Modern Classic
  • Paperback: 146 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Owen Ltd (October 21, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 072061161X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0720611618
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,465,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

5 star
50%
4 star
50%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 4 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kit Welsh on September 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
So this isn't exactly what I'd call a happy book. And by "this isn't exactly what I'd call a happy book," I mean it's depressing as all get out. I totally recommend it, but be warned, the book contains graphic details of rape, abuse, violence and gore. If you can't handle any of those items, I'd sit this one out.

Li Ang, the auther of the Butcher's Wife was inspired by the story real murder committed in the 1930's. According to traditional Chinese society, a woman who has killed her husband must have committed the murder due to her having committed an extramarital affair. The Butcher's Wife seeks to disprove that notion, giving us an idea of what kind of abuse might push someone to that edge.

Books like this one are important to remind us how society can fail certain people. The protagonist, Lin Shi, has absolutely zero resources available to her. She is trapped in her marriage by her ignorance and by her communities ignorance, as well as slut shamed by her neighbors for constant rape at the hands of her husband. As an American audience, it is very easy to separate ourselves from her life and say that Taiwan is oh so very far away, but the truth is, abuse happens everywhere, in a myriad of different ways. Books like this can reflect a very sad reality and point out common weaknesses everywhere. While it is an important read, I have to say, I was very glad it was a novella and not longer than it was, or I probably would not have made it all the way through. At its core, it is the portrayal of the destruction of a young woman, and as I said at the beginning, it's not exactly cheerful stuff. Excellent work, however.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jenny :) on November 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This story was well written but the characters were so morbid and unusual that it left me feeling disturbed after I finished the book. You can't help but analyze and wonder about the characters and what they could have done differently and why they behaved they way they did. It also gives you a good look at Taiwanese superstitions, village culture, stereotypes, and characteristics of the time period. It's a very interesting and strange story.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dirk Kraaijenbos on November 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A true story, very brutal and vivid, strong personalities in difficult times, I really liked it a lot and will read it again.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Emily Zeltwanger on April 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I felt terrible for Lin Shi, a young Taiwanese girl in this book, when I read it. I felt terrible that anyone would have to live a life like this. I cannot imagine having an arranged marriage, let alone an arranged marriage from someone who didn't care about me. She is forced to marry a pig butcher and the abuse he puts her through is terrible. She is a vegetarian and I thought that played a big part in the story. He treats her terribly and makes her do things she doesn't want to, and she is driven to madness and finally murders her husband. The reality of the cruelty in this book will just send shivers up your back.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?