The Courtesan

The Courtesan

eBook - 2015
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A timeless novel inspired by the legendary real-life Chinese courtesan Sai Jinhua--an extraordinary woman who bridged two worlds in the twilight decades of the Qing dynasty, a tumultuous era of East meets West.

The year is 1881. Seven-year-old Jinhua is left an orphan, alone and unprotected after her mandarin father's summary execution for the crime of speaking the truth. For seven silver coins, she is sold to a brothel-keeper and subjected to the worst of human nature.

When an elegant but troubled scholar takes Jinhua as his concubine, she enters the close world of his jealous first wife. Yet it is Jinhua who accompanies him--as emissary to the foreign devil nations of Prussia, Austria-Hungary, and Russia--on an exotic journey to Vienna. As he struggles to play his part in China's early, blundering diplomatic engagement with the Western world, Jinhua's eyes and heart are opened to the irresistible possibilities of a place that is mesmerizing and strange, where she will struggle against the constraints of tradition and her husband's authority and seek to find "Great Love."

Sai Jinhua is an altered woman when she returns to a changed and changing China, where a dangerous clash of cultures pits East against West. As the Boxer Rebellion brews and finally breaks, Jinhua's Western sympathies will threaten not only her own survival but the survival of those who are most dear to her.

An authentic and beautifully written portrait of China's relationship with the West, the story of the incredible Sai Jinhua, told the way it might have been, is not to be forgotten.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Publishing Group, 2015
ISBN: 9780698405271
0698405277
9780143193906
0143193902
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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AL_STEFFEN Nov 23, 2016

Told from multiple perspectives I was entertained throughout, but it was no Amy Tan!
However, like many books set in China there is some real vivid and rich setting description.
Also there was this sentence that really shocked me!,
"It is the way of women to bind our daughter's feet.. If we don't do this, how will your c**t become tight and your buttocks firm from walking in a woman's way."

Manateestarz Jun 06, 2016

A fairly well-written novel
about an obscure,but real, historical figure, courtesan, Sai Jinhua. This book, while thin on characterization, does provide a great starting place for studying the relationship of China to Western Europe/Germany during this turbulent time in history. Author Curry provides a great bibliography in the back.

s
singasong70
Nov 13, 2015

Interesting enough (as previous critique noted), feels like I have read it b/f, however, Memoirs of a Geisha, which I liked better. Stories like this follow a similar theme I have found, Asian girl/child sold (into concubinage) by woman/man who do not have a conscience (if you ask me). Which makes you wonder: where is love and respect in these stories for females, respect most of all?

d2013 Oct 04, 2015

Was expecting more but still an interesting read!

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