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Bronze Mirror Hardcover – July, 1991

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Having established her reputation, in Silk Road , as a writer who provocatively fuses the myths and history of medieval China, Larsen again spins an imaginative story that takes place both in the heavenly spheres and in the real world. The narrative is framed as a story-telling competition, in which three intersecting tales are related in alternating segments by gods who live in "the time before time begins." The Silkweb Empress recounts her tale by painting a picture on silk; the Emperor's chief minister, Tsang-jieh, uses writing, which he has just invented; and a goddess-in-waiting, Lady Quillingwheel, combines both methods. They chronicle the adventures of Pomegranate, a 12th-century shopkeeper's daughter serving as a lady's maid in a rich family fallen upon hard times, a device that allows Larsen to portray the complexities of Chinese society. She also endows the gods with the same passions and rivalries, fallibilities and foibles as the humans whose lives they manipulate. Though clever, whimsically humorous and insightful, the narrative lacks full-bodied vigor and dramatic intensity. Larsen's authorial intrusions, while always interesting, are sometimes too discursive and obtrusive, diluting the tension and slowing the pace. On the other hand, her ability to synthesize the magical and historical continues to charm. BOMC featured alternate.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Another Chinese tale within a tale, this second novel from the author of Silk Road ( LJ 5/1/89) again involves deities actively manipulating human lives. The 12th-century southern Soong years, wracked by war and sudden change and an ill-fated noble house, are the subject of a storytelling contest between the Silkweb Empress and a favored courtier of the Yellow Emperor. Weaving a complex tapestry of themes, Larsen includes mythology, personal rivalries between goddesses, and Chinese history and culture as seen through the eyes of Pomegranate, a young maid to the lonely Lady Phoenix, the young arranged wife of an absent first son. Love, lust, greed, revenge, and Buddhist tranquility appear as the Lady Phoenix seeks inner peace in a household rent by a vituperative mother-in-law and a lascivious second son whose philanderings bring a curse to the family when his banished, impregnated maid commits suicide. A complex tale for larger fiction collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/91; BOMC featured alternate.
- Joan Hinkemeyer, Englewood P.L., Col.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Co; 1st edition (July 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805011102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805011104
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,901,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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on August 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
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