8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
'A handful of chopsticks and no roofbeam',
This review is from: Miss Chopsticks (Hardcover)
I read this novel in one sitting last night: I could not put it down. Xinran has written a delightful novel about three sisters from rural China who make their own lives in Nanjing.
Sisters Three, Five and Six may not have much formal education, but they know that their mother is a failure because she has produced only six daughters (chopsticks) and no son (roofbeam). Chopsticks (girls) are seen as less valued than roofbeams (sons) for a number of different traditional cultural reasons, and a family without sons has far less face (standing).
Sisters Three, Five and Six have different skills and aptitudes and each is able to find a valuable niche in the city, acquire new knowledge and to bring face to their family. Each sister makes a new and different life in Nanjing, and each is valued. They each learn as well that not all learning is without some pain or grief.
But the ultimate message is one of hope for a different future. In the words of their father:'Is it possible that our chopstick girls will be able to hold up the roof'?
This novel has been translated beautifully into English by Esther Tyldesley.