Read A Concubine for the Family: A Family Saga in China by Amy S. Kwei Online

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The novel covers a tumultuous era in Chinese history beginning in 1937 and ending in 1941.  It also explores the circumstances surrounding the true-life event of my grandmother's gift of a concubine to my grandfather on his birthday to enhance the chance of an heir to the Family....

Title : A Concubine for the Family: A Family Saga in China
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780981549927
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 396 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Concubine for the Family: A Family Saga in China Reviews

  • Rachel Barnard
    2018-12-26 07:19

    The Huang family is without an heir… In early to mid 19th century China, this has grave consequences for the old traditions. Purple Jade has the humility, dignity, and pragmatism to bring an heir to the Huangs in any culturally justified means available: a Concubine for the Family.The violence in this book was softened. The cultural shock was softened. The bad guy was ambiguous. Amy Kwei chose to soften the blow of the violence in this book by using a mellowing narrative voice. I thought it was fitting for the author to soften her words and perspective (softening the truth perhaps), because the characters and persons in the book showed considerable restraint. Where you or I would lash out in voice or action, Purple Jade held her peace and showed that she was considering both sides to a situation (in her thoughts). The author describes this as a concept of fixing yourself before fixing the world: “By cultivating oneself, we can regulate the family; by regulating the family, we can govern the state; by governing the state, we can bring peace on earth. When order and kindness direct the world, heaven will be pleased.” (Page 326). What a wonderful concept that everyone should adopt, at least in part, and the world would be a better place.Perhaps the bad guy was not a single person, but actions of people or actions of a country. Perhaps it is fate or old traditions. Perhaps it is the concept of war. Kwei gives the reader much to ponder by not handing us a simple and easy character to despise and blame. The characters are just as much prone to their fate as we are in real life.I get a little lost in the politics of a country’s history I know nothing about and a country’s culture I am quite unfamiliar with, but that’s what makes this book so fascinating. Kwei describes the proper way to eat and what is proper to eat. She describes when and who speaks, political gains and favors, and the halting way of speaking (as if it’s been translated just for our eyes). I am peeking into a world I would normally not have insight into and it is described in enough detail to give me a taste without having overwhelming flavor.I very much enjoyed Kwei’s descriptions of cultural traditions and the differences between modern living and traditions of the past. The concept of “saving face” was intriguing, as was the struggle between culture and shame.“If we can agree with their concept that each person is endowed with thoughts and feelings worthy of singular attention, more opportunities and developments would surely follow.” (Page 298).I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction with a political element, culturally rich stories, novels featuring Chinese in China, or a novel with a strong female lead.

  • Rachel Barnard
    2018-12-29 10:25

    The Huang family is without an heir… In early to mid 19th century China, this has grave consequences for the old traditions. Purple Jade has the humility, dignity, and pragmatism to bring an heir to the Huangs in any culturally justified means available: a Concubine for the Family.The violence in this book was softened. The cultural shock was softened. The bad guy was ambiguous. Amy Kwei chose to soften the blow of the violence in this book by using a mellowing narrative voice. I thought it was fitting for the author to soften her words and perspective (softening the truth perhaps), because the characters and persons in the book showed considerable restraint. Where you or I would lash out in voice or action, Purple Jade held her peace and showed that she was considering both sides to a situation (in her thoughts). The author describes this as a concept of fixing yourself before fixing the world: “By cultivating oneself, we can regulate the family; by regulating the family, we can govern the state; by governing the state, we can bring peace on earth. When order and kindness direct the world, heaven will be pleased.” (Page 326). What a wonderful concept that everyone should adopt, at least in part, and the world would be a better place.Perhaps the bad guy was not a single person, but actions of people or actions of a country. Perhaps it is fate or old traditions. Perhaps it is the concept of war. Kwei gives the reader much to ponder by not handing us a simple and easy character to despise and blame. The characters are just as much prone to their fate as we are in real life.I get a little lost in the politics of a country’s history I know nothing about and a country’s culture I am quite unfamiliar with, but that’s what makes this book so fascinating. Kwei describes the proper way to eat and what is proper to eat. She describes when and who speaks, political gains and favors, and the halting way of speaking (as if it’s been translated just for our eyes). I am peeking into a world I would normally not have insight into and it is described in enough detail to give me a taste without having overwhelming flavor.I very much enjoyed Kwei’s descriptions of cultural traditions and the differences between modern living and traditions of the past. The concept of “saving face” was intriguing, as was the struggle between culture and shame.“If we can agree with their concept that each person is endowed with thoughts and feelings worthy of singular attention, more opportunities and developments would surely follow.” (Page 298).I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction with a political element, culturally rich stories, novels featuring Chinese in China, or a novel with a strong female lead.

  • Amy
    2019-01-01 05:32

    A great look at an amazing country and people on the verge of great change. Following one family on the out break of WW2, trying to hold on to traditional values while also attepmting to give their children the best advantage to the future. The author does an amazing job giving us insight into cultrue, traditions, and setting as well as into the character's minds, and the generational differences in thought. The story moves along well with a good pairing of dialog, scenesetting and character development make this a highly recccommended read.For a similar tale and look into multi generational family check out Pearl S. Buck's Pavillion of Women.

  • Megan
    2018-12-20 10:17

    Gorgeous saga of a Chinese family caught in between their own traditions and the western world, with war looming on the horizon. Many different characters with different opinions help show the many schools of thought swirling around China in the late 1930s.

  • Nikki Lewis
    2018-12-29 06:15

    Excellent book based on a family before during and after war in China

  • Alvaro Lemus
    2018-12-29 10:25

    It was a good book, though the author started with one novel and ended with something completely different. I enjoyed it, but still think the book could've been written in two separate novels.

  • Amy Kwei
    2019-01-11 09:40

    By Wellington D.K. Chan, Ph.D., NEH Distinguished Professor of Humanities Emeritus, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CAJuly, 2016This review is from: A Concubine for the Family: A Family Saga in China (Paperback)I was much impressed by Amy's careful attention to the historical background for the events that happened during that period in her novel. She also did good research that provided her with accurate factual information such as foot binding and how bound feet had to be managed and taken care of. They lend verisimilitude, which to me is all the more important since the audience comes from individuals who are mostly unfamiliar with Chinese cultural values.Novels dealing with traditional Chinese values tend to display a maudlin concern when describing family relationships. Amy successfully avoids this pitfall, for the old traditions were often set against the westernized influences brought in by their daughters from the missionary school and from the family's forced move to Shanghai. It is a good story, which I enjoyed reading. I shall pass it on to my former colleague who teaches Chinese language and on Chinese novels in English translation at Occidental College.

  • patricia w wiktorek
    2019-01-19 04:15

    ChinaThis story explains the tragedy of the rape of China by the western and eastern powers of the day. Purple Jade and her family had to learn new ways, endure the losses and death of members of their family and death of the family itself. Purple Jade was the strength of this sad group to the end.

  • Margo
    2018-12-24 07:33

    I am disappointed at where this left off. What happened?

  • Lisa Richter
    2018-12-23 03:13

    interesting if you like turn of the century Chinese culture..enjoy comparison between Confusion culture and Western culture..not brilliant but enjoyable.