Maxine Hong Kingston (China Men) distills the dire lessons of her mother’s mesmerizing “talk-story” tales of a China where girls are worthless, tradition is exalted and only a strong, wily woman can scratch her way upward.
The author’s America is a landscape of confounding white “ghosts”—the policeman ghost, the social worker ghost—with equally rigid, but very different rules.
Like the woman warrior of the title, Kingston carries the crimes against her family carved into her back by her parents in testimony to and defiance of the pain.
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