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Butterfly Lovers: A Tale of the Chinese Romeo and Juliet

3.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0966542141
ISBN-10: 0966542142
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA-Yingtai Zhu, the only daughter of a prosperous family, despairs at the prospect of staying within the walls of her family's compound until she marries and goes off to live behind a new set of walls. More educated than most girls, she persuades her father to allow her to masquerade as a man and travel to Hangzhou to study with Master Zhou. On the way, she meets Shanbo Liang and the two become friends and "sworn brothers." Yingtai has difficulty concealing her gender from him, especially after she falls in love with him. Nonetheless, she keeps up the pretense until she is called home, entrusting Mrs. Zhou to reveal her secret after her departure. Of course Shanbo wants to marry her once he learns the truth-but her parents have found her a groom. The story, based on a Chinese folktale, has all of the elements of a great tragic love affair, including misunderstandings, withheld information, meddling servants, jealous rivals, tears, psychosomatic illnesses-and last but not least-an ending in which the star-crossed lovers are transmuted into a pair of butterflies. Yingtai is an engaging and clever heroine, never willing to give up the pursuit of her desires. Shanbo can be downright dense at times, but he makes a romantic leading man, even though he is never as resolute or courageous as Yingtai. He loves her beyond death, and that's what counts in this kind of story.
Susan Salpini, Purcellville Library, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Dai-Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics, Darmstadt, Germany.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 251 pages
  • Publisher: HOMA & SEKEY BOOKS (February 14, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966542142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966542141
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Fantastic book, I actually welled up a few times. Although it does bare some resemblance to Romeo and Juliet, the story is actually a Chinese legened which can be dated as far back as 907, which is long before Shakespear was even though of.
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Format: Paperback
Previous reviews and editorial review have unfortunately given away what kind of a love story we shall expect in BUTTERFLY LOVERS. I think it's a bummer when reviewrs ruin my reading pleasure. Anyway, I won't give away too much of the plot. BUTTERFLY LOVERS is the first English publication of the original work LIANG SHANBO AND ZHU YINGTAI, one of the classics that had accompanied history of China. ZHU YINGTAI disguised herself as a man who lived under the same roof with a young scholor LIANG SHANBO for three years without revealing her true identity. The lovers lived haplessly in a historical period in which socioeconomic status determined marriage. The old Chinese saying reminds us "the doorframe has to match the threshold". Social status relentlessly determined the lovers' fate and wove a bitter-sweet tale that touched many souls generation after generation. The original tale of LIANG SHANBO AND ZHU YINGTAI had been featured in numerous musical adaptations. Violinist Vanessa Mae released a solo album on the original scores of LIANG SHANBO AND ZHU YINGTAI. I would not give away the story since it would be your pleasure to figure out why LIANG SHANBO AND ZHU YINTAI are butterfly lovers.
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Format: Paperback
The Butterfly Lovers is one of famous Chinese stories. Almost every Chinese knows about this tragic story either by movie, drama, music, or book. In this book, Ms. Fan Dai, the author has really introduced this famous "Romeo and Julliet" type of story into Western world. Every detail that describes the Chinese culture, behavior, and society is so real and clear. The feeling is so great that you only have to read it and cry without any visual support, background music or sound effect to re-enforce the scene. No matter how many times I go through the story, I still enjoy every second of it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well written enough to keep me engrossed, though perhaps could have used further drafting. The book evoked all the right emotions in me. The relationship between Yingtai and Shanbo was heart-touching. It resonated especially with me as I am trans and some scenes deal with the taboos of skirting gender and the anxious feelings one experiences in many such experiences. Also, I love Oriental lore! Definitely a worthwhile read to anyone considering.
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Format: Paperback
A beautiful Chinese girl disguises herself as a man and lives under one roof with a young male scholar for three years without revealing her true identity. They become "sworn brothers", soul mates and lovers in a world in which marriage is determined by social status and arranged by parents. Butterfly Lovers is based upon a popular Chinese folktale and is an engaging, compelling, deeply moving, highly recommended and rewarding novel.
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A Kid's Review on November 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
Buttefly Lovers, by Fan Dai, is the Chinese version of Romeo and Juliette. I thought it was a very good book with very interesting twist that differs from Shakespears Romeo and Juliette. The love story is very unique. It not only is entertaining, but also gives a lot of information about how life in China is different from the U.S. Women were treated very unequaly and did not have the freedom that people do today. Women weren't even allowed to go to school. Butterfly Lovers also shows that there was a deffinite cast system in China when this book was written. People who were poor did not get the many privileges that the rich got. The ritual of marrige is also very different than it is here in the U.S. and other countries. The bride does not have any say in who she gets to marry. This causes a big problem for young woman in Butterfly Lovers.
Over all this was a very well written book. I would recomend this book to anyone who likes romance.
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Format: Paperback
The book Butterfly Lovers by Fan Dai is the chinese Rome and Juliet. The book had a very catching story line that makes you not want to put the book down. The names are by far the hardest part of this book. Once you get by the names, the book gets very good. I am not the kind of person to read love stories, but this is a book worth reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book represents a re-telling of a traditional Chinese tale. It is well done although the author, trying to make the language more appealing to modern (American) readers, sometimes misses the mark. However, for anyone interested in Chinese culture, this is a "must read."
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