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Shanghai Girls
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About the Author

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of Peony in Love, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Flower Net (an Edgar Award nominee), The Interior, and Dragon Bones, as well as the critically acclaimed memoir On Gold Mountain. The Organization of Chinese American Women named her the 2001 National Woman of the Year. She lives in Los Angeles.

Reviews

Adult/High School-This extensively researched historical novel is engrossing and readable. Spanning three decades and two continents (from 1930s China to Los Angeles in the 1950s), the book explores universal themes: adolescence, family relationships, secrets, immigration, and discrimination. Readers meet Pearl and May as teenage sisters in prewar Shanghai. They revel in modern ways and defy the wishes of their parents by modeling for "Beautiful Girls" calendars and staying out until the wee hours. Pearl's narration has a confiding tone in the early chapters-she discusses clothes, make-up, parental restrictions, and love interests. As the story develops, See balances Pearl's personal revelations with evocative descriptions of people, places, meals, and Chinese customs, as well as several suspenseful episodes of action and drama. The well-drawn characters face realistic hardships, some personal (lost love, business failures) and others global (Japanese atrocities in China, World War II, communism). Vivid descriptions of life at Angel Island Immigration Station, the development of L.A.'s Chinatown, filmmaking in 1940s Hollywood, and the 1950s Confession Program convey the stress, excitement, and longing for home that many Chinese immigrants experienced in the United States. This book will appeal to readers of historical fiction, and may be of special interest to those with ties to the Chinese community.-Sondra VanderPloeg, Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

In prewar 1930s Shanghai, carefree sisters Pearl Chin and younger, prettier May are the "beautiful girls" whose images on posters beckon viewers to buy products. They openly scoff at their parents' superstitious, old-world ways, but they soon learn that the good life is but an illusion. The Japanese army's brutal invasion of the city makes their lives as beautiful girls impossible. Their businessman father loses everything to the ruthless mob, and to pay off his debts he forces his daughters into arranged marriages to Chinese men living in the United States. See is masterly in her powerful depictions of the prejudice and harsh treatment the sisters encounter as they try to assimilate into the strange new world of Los Angeles. Possibly the best book yet from the author of Peony in Love; highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/09.]-Marika Zemke, Commerce Twshp. Community Lib., MI Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"See is a gifted writer, and in Shanghai Girls she again explores the bonds of sisterhood while powerfully evoking the often nightmarish American immigrant experience."--USA Today

"A buoyant and lustrous paean to the bonds of sisterhood."--Booklist

"A rich work . . . as compulsively readable as it is an enlightening journey."--Denver Post

"The glamour of prewar Shanghai is recalled in Lisa See's deftly plotted Shanghai Girls."--Vogue "Splendid."--More "An engrossing tale of two sisters."--Time "Shanghai Girls is one of those books I could not wait to continue reading, because her characters' stories are so compellingly told."--St. Louis Dispatch

"As in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love, she has in her latest novel created ordinary women who, through willfulness and resiliency, accomplish extraordinary things. . . . See, whose writing is as graceful as these ''beautiful girls, '' pulls off another exceptional novel."--Miami Herald

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