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June 26, 2009


You got to interview Lisa See!?!? That is so cool!!

Hey there! I actually finished reading Shanghai Girls not too long ago and I have to say that while I really enjoy Lisa See, I was fairly disappointed in the book. I felt that it really simplified all the complexities of what it meant to be a Sino-American woman. I am reminded of a class I took in the RC with Claire Conceison where we really dealt with the issue of the Western representation of Chinese women as either a "Lotus flower" (gentle, meek, etc.) or a "Dragon Lady." Lisa See's books usually play upon this dialectic representation of women to a certain degree--but this book does it the most. To which I think it does discredit to the true Shanghai Girls (and all other Sino-American female immigrants for that matter). While I enjoyed it, I very much prefer her previous two books. But thanks for the link to the article! :)

Oh, Beth, I hear you.

I find myself really interested in Lisa See's project as a writer--one of the questions I asked her (but got cut from the interview) is why she chooses fiction to communicate the true stories she's so invested in. I really appreciate the idea of fiction being capable of conveying the kinds of truth that don't come through in nonfiction.

But at the same time, I wonder if shSeee doesn't feel so weighed down with all the facts and interesting asides that she ends up smooshing her story into them--so fiction like Shanghai Girls ends up being more of a vehicle to communicate certain facts, rather than using the facts to communicate art/truth. I think maybe all the knowledge in her head dictates her fiction too much, making Shanghai Girls heavy-handed.

Which is all a convaluted way of saying: what you're saying, drawing from your far deeper knowledge, rings true to me!

It's tough when you're rooting for an author, and admire much about them, but are disappointed by some of the end results. :)

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  • Isak is a space to celebrate tales and truth in the curious, joyful way embodied by the writer for which it is named. The name "Isak," after all, means "laughter," as she was fond of pointing out.

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