Read Peony in Love by Lisa See Online


In seventeenth-century China, three women become emotionally involved with The Peony Pavilion, a famed opera rumored to cause lovesickness and even death, including Peony, the cloistered daughter of a wealthy scholar, who succumbs to its spell only to return after her death as a "hungry ghost" to haunt her former fiancé, who has married another....

Title : Peony in Love
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781400064663
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 273 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Peony in Love Reviews

  • Kay
    2018-08-26 09:49

    5/1/14 EDIT: Sooo I stopped checking comments for months, and I come back to either rage or agreement with regard to my review. All I have to say is THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD. Also, if you're on the fence about whether or not to continue reading this book, don't read this review unless you're set on quitting. Okay? Okay. Onwards to the actual review!*************I just couldn't finish it. And I tried. Really, really tried. Even after studying Chinese history extensively in college, I'm usually not very picky about the books that I read. I don't really care about the accuracy or the sequence of events, as long as it's a good story. But maybe it's the cheesy title. Or maybe it's just too girly. Or maybe, just maybe, the fact that this foolish girl starved herself to death because of lovesickness was the last kick in the butt my usually sleepy (yet very existent) inner feminist could endure before waking and wanting to punch someone. I have enough idiots in my life to deal with. Please don't make me deal with more in my head. Granted, the book does somewhat cleverly depict the Chinese afterlife, but the rest was so blah and a little insulting to my intelligence and femininity. If I rolled my eyes any harder while reading this book, I would have fallen out of my chair. I may return to skim through the pages again to finish but probably not anytime soon.

  • James
    2018-09-19 11:47

    3 out of 5 stars to Lisa See's Peony in Love, a historical fiction book released in 2007 by Random House set in 17th century China.Why This BookI found it sitting on a bookshelf in my condo's laundry room. I read the jacket description, which sounded like a beautiful tale of love, emotions and a little bit of history. I brought it home with me that afternoon, knowing it would come in handy. And when I finished up a few ARCs, I needed a different kind of book; I saw this on my own shelf, which reminded me it was time to try something a few years old. I picked it up and began reading last week. It took longer than usual, but I'll explain why later.Overview of StoryThe Peony Pavilion is a play that the character of Peony has read many times. When her father, of some wealth in 17th century China, puts on a showing of the famous play on his estate, 15-year old Peony is excited. But it's when she sees a boy for the first time, she cannot control her thoughts. Unfortunately, she's already paired off in an arranged marriage with a boy from another family, as well as the fact that as a girl, she's not even allowed to be seen with any males other than those in her own family.The book follows the story line of the play, which seems to be spilling over into Peony's life. When she begins unknowingly starving herself, Peony dies and enters the afterworld on her own. She's unprepared to deal with the consequences and is remorseful that she never found love. She soon sees the boy she fell in love with in a dream, learning he was the man her father had arranged in the marriage. She longs for him but cannot have him, as she is dead and he is very much alive.Soon, her family members begin dying and join her in the afterworld. The boy moves on and gets married. Peony inserts herself to their life from the great beyond, leading to unfortunate circumstances for all involved. As she meanders her journey, Peony learns what is needed for her to move beyond the "waiting place" and into her new existence as no longer alive.Approach & Style1. The book is centered around a play within the book which mirrors the main character's life. At times, it's a little difficult to tell which is real life and which is the play.2. The language is very ethereal, flowery and imaginative. This is less about plot and more about the beauty of Chinese beliefs about what women are allowed to do, what happens in death, and how to live one's life.Strengths1. The love story is a strong one. You see and feel the poetry in the words and the relationships.2. It's very descriptive of life in a warrior state in 17th century China. I learned a lot of history that I wasn't privy to beforehand.3. You see everything thru Peony's eyes, which helps create a very strong world and point of view.Open Questions & ConcernsI am shocked at what Chinese women were put thru... between the sacrifices women made for men, the binding of feet and the cultural expectations and limitations. It was very upsetting. I understand these were customs for hundreds of years, with deep-rooted beliefs... some are just awful from today's standards. Even awful back then.Author & Other Similar BooksThis is the first book about Chinese customs and history that I've read. I'm not sure what I could compare it to.... perhaps Memoirs of a Geisha, although it's a different country and belief system.Final ThoughtsThis was a very tough read. I started it ten days ago and read 20 pages. I tried a few times, but couldn't get into it. I forced myself to read 150 pages last night and then the remaining 100 today. It got better, but it wasn't a positive read for me; however, I recognize the beauty in the story, characters, imagery and setting. It's one of those books where I didn't like it a lot, but I know it's a good book.I wish I had more knowledge of Chinese history and customs. Unfortunately, much of what happens in the book and how it's described went over my head. I didn't agree with how people felt or were treated. I didn't know why there was so much of a belief in ghosts with a vengeance. I couldn't get into religious and spiritual connections that were unfamiliar. And when I was getting close, I felt angry over how awfully these women were treated.That said, I believe I would have liked this a lot more if I had a stronger background in the topics. The writing is good. The story is pretty. It's just a weak connection for me because I was unfamiliar with the core practices, history and belief systems. But for the right reader, it will probably be a good 3 to 4 rated book. For me, it was about a 2.5, and I rounded up to a 3 to be fair.About MeFor those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.[polldaddy poll=9729544][polldaddy poll=9719251]

  • Aj the Ravenous Reader
    2018-08-31 12:37

    “"When people are alive they love, when they die, they keep loving. If love ends when a person dies, that is not real love"I have a confession to make. I bought this book not by choice but by mere economic benefit. The paperback (the brand new one still wrapped in cellophane) was on sale and I bought it for a very fairly cheap price. Guess how much. (view spoiler)[ One U.S. dollar, can you believe that!!??(hide spoiler)]I was elated to discover that this is a historical novel as I made a recent promise to myself to increase my historical fiction reads. I dove right into the book and read every page as fast as I possibly could despite the challenge of going through realistic historical events set in 17th century China that kept threatening to put me to sleep. Luckily, I upped my dose of caffeine, so I was able to finish the book in less than two days. Yay! This is mainly a love story or rather a story of love-sickness and in the point of view of a practical, modern woman, it would be the most foolish thing to starve yourself because of love and yes I am one of those women. Had it ended in that tragic death, I would say it would be just an overused lovesick tragic tale. But it didn’t end there! The latter half of the story which I found very hauntingly fantastic presents the MC’s journey in the afterlife as her love for her one and only man transcends even death. But far better than the story itself, I felt a greater pull toward the imaginative, vivid, and evocative writing of the author and the way she perfectly depicted ancient Chinese cultures and rituals on courtship, marriage and death and I found myself captivated. Even though, I wasn’t a huge fan of the story, I highly commend Lisa See for the brilliant artist that she is by writing this priceless artifact of a novel.

  • Elyse
    2018-09-26 17:46

    I'm sure I wrote a review for this book too, at one point.... I have no idea where it's hanging out! I liked this --- and I still remember it but I'm generally not a huge fan of books dealing with the afterlife.... but this was done really well. It's not a STRONG 5 star read - but it's close IMO .... you certainly learn about another aspect of this culture.4.5 rating - round up to 5 stars

  • Eleyna
    2018-09-20 14:32

    This book is amazing!!! It is beautifully written (lovely descriptions and intricate details), well researched, and unbelievably touching. There were moments where I feel I can't read anymore because I am so overwhelmed with emotion, but I can never put the book down for any real length of time. I have become completely engrossed. The summary of the book is a little misleading. It describes the book as a love story. I do not find it to be one. Peony in Love is a romantic and tragic story. Love plays a big part, but not necessarily in the way I expected it to. More important in this book are the facts. 1)The traditions and beliefs practiced in the book were actually the beliefs and practices of the time, and some are really bizarre to me! 2)A woman's place in the society of that age. It's fascinating to see the differences from then to now, and also to realize that while there are differences, there are also many similarities today in women's oppression and sensoring as there were then. 3)The women in the story were real women, as was Wu Ren. Their comments on the play The Peony Pavilion are real and were compiled into a book: Wu Wushan’s Three Wives’ Collaborative Commentary of The Peony Pavilion. I don't want to give too much away. Please read it for yourself. One way or another you will be touched. It is a truly amazing read!

  • Becky
    2018-09-22 11:38

    Set in 17th-century China, See’s fifth novel is a coming-of-age story, a ghost story, a family saga and a work of musical and social history. As Peony, the 15-year-old daughter of the wealthy Chen family, approaches an arranged marriage, she commits an unthinkable breach of etiquette when she accidentally comes upon a man who has entered the family garden. Unusually for a girl of her time, Peony has been educated and revels in studying The Peony Pavilion, a real opera published in 1598, as the repercussions of the meeting unfold. The novel’s plot mirrors that of the opera, and eternal themes abound: an intelligent girl chafing against the restrictions of expected behavior; fiction’s educative powers; the rocky path of love between lovers and in families. It figures into the plot that generations of young Chinese women, known as the lovesick maidens, became obsessed with The Peony Pavilion, and, in a Werther-like passion, many starved themselves to death. See (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, etc.) offers meticulous depiction of women’s roles in Qing and Ming dynasty China (including horrifying foot-binding scenes) and vivid descriptions of daily Qing life, festivals and rituals. Peony’s vibrant voice, perfectly pitched between the novel’s historical and passionate depths, carries her story beautifully—in life and afterlife.) I must say that I loved the first Lisa See novel that I read (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan) and had high hopes for this one, and was severely disappointed. It just rambled on and on (SPOILER) even after the main character dies. Uggh. After the beautiful writing of “Snow Flower”, it was hard to read this– it was simply missing too much - in terms of explanations, background details, character development, and tying together really choppy scenes, that it felt amateurish, trite and unmoving.

  • Sarah ~
    2018-09-07 17:28

    بعدَ أن انتهيت من قراءة هذه الرواية ، لا أعرف كيف أشعر ،ولا كيف أشرح أحداثها ولا حتى كيف أصيغ عبارات هذه المراجعة ..مع التركيز على الأخيرة !منحت الرواية خمس نجمات .. (أربع للكاتبة والقصة والفكرة ككل و أوبرا حديقة الفاوانيا - ونجمة للترجمة الجميلة جداً و المثالية والخالية من الأخطاء )تدور هذه الرواية في الصين وفي زمن لم يسمح فيه للنساء بالخروج من المنازل حيث هنَّ حبيسات الغرف الداخلية ، ولا يشاركن بأي شكل في الحياة العامة ،ولا يجب أن يتحدث أحد عن إنجازات إمراة أو يحتفل بها .إنها عن مجتمع إمتلأ بالخوف من الفن فقط لأن ( الحياة تقلد الفن ).إنه مجتمع امتلأ بالظلم تجاه المراة في كل شيء ، حيث تنشيء العائلات الفتيات للزواج فقط ، والفتيات من الطبقة الغنية والراقية فقط هن من يحصلن على فرص أفضل في الزواج وذلك لأن عائلاتهن غنية ولأنهن ( مربوطات القدمين - ربط القدمين هو أكثر الأدلة على أن هذه الفتاة من عائلة غنية ومن الطبقة الراقية )مجتمع لا يعترف بالمرأة ولا بحقوقها وأن لها رأياً وكيانا مستقلا . يعاملها معاملة الجمادات في أحيان كثيرة كانت تباع وتشترى وكان الملح أعلى ثمنا منها .وبالنسبة لمعظمهم - فإن المرأة الجاهلة وحدها هي من تعتبر إمراة صالحة !قد لا تكون الفكرة بهذه السهولة التي أعرضها في مراجعتي ..وقعت أحداث هذه الرواية خلال حكم المانشو للصين ( كان المانشو شعبا يختلف كثيراً عن الصينين ولم يمارسوا عادة ربط الأقدام مثلا - كانت أسرة «مينج» تحكم الصين حتى عام 1644، وبعدها أصبح حكم الصين لأسرة المانشو، حكمت أسرة المانشو من عام 1645 حتى عام 1911، أى أكثر من قرنين ونصف القرن.. من منتصف القرن السابع عشر وحتى قبيل الحرب العالمية الأولى.. وهى مدة طويلة وعصيبة فى آن. ) ، وهي فترة (قبل حكم المانشو وخلاله ) سادت فيها قيم مجتمعية جديدة وبعض الإنفتاح الثقافي والحريات حيث نشرت بعض النساء كتاباتهن ، ولكنها لم تطل فسوف ينغلق المجتمع نفسه من جديد و تعاد النساء إلى غرفهن الداخلية وهذه المرة إلى الأبد "تقريبا" حتى عام 1912 حينَ سقطت الأمبراطورية الصينية .أكثر ما يعبر عن هذه الرواية أتى على لسان البطلة هنا : "بدأت أستعيد قوتي واستجمع تصميمي وعزمي وتذكرت مجدداً أن هدفي ، ككل النساء والفتيات ، هو أن أجعل صوتي مسموعاً . "هذه البطلة تبحث عن صوتها في إطار قصة طويلة ، تبحث عن تقرير مصيرها تكافح وتناضل ..تجد زهرة الفاوانيا صوتها ويصل كما أرادت ، وتعيش عبر قصائدها وكتاباتها التي تركتها خلفها بعد وفاتها ..وعبر جهود ثلاث زوجات ( هي الزوجة الأولى من بينهن ) تابعت كل منهن عمل الأخرى حتى تمَ نشر التعليق الأول والأشهر على أوبرا حديقة الفاوانيا .هذه الرواية ليست فقط عن زهرة الفاوانيا ، إنها عن النساء في ذلك الزمن ، حيث نرى جدتها التي ضحت بنفسها من أجل العائلة ووالدتها الشاعرة التي تناقل الجميع قصائدها وإن لم يعرفوا من القائل ، وعضوات نادي حديقة الموز ، وغيرهن .إنها رواية عن الحب ، و عن أوبرا خالدة ، وبحث طويل عن الحرية .*تحذير :هذه الجزء من المراجعة يحتوي على تفاصيل لأحداث الرواية ...تستند رواية Peony in Love إلى أحداث حقيقية ..تبدأ مع أوبرا Peony Pavilion أو حديقة الفاوانيا ..كتبها تانغ خيانجو ، في العام 1598 اكتملت الأوبرا وقدمت الأوبرا لأول مرة ، وأصبح تانغ من أهم المشجعين على العواطف العميقة والحب .. ولكنه حوربَ من قبل الحكومة ومن قبل مجموعات اجتماعية لم ترغب بوجود هكذا أوبرا واعتبرتها سياسية فوق الحد وتسيء لأخلاقيات المجتمع .. وخضعت الأوبرا للرقابة حتى أصبحت ثمانية مشاهد فقط من أصل خمس وخمسين مشهداً.وتوقفت طباعة نسخها المكتوبة ..وفي 1780 ازدادت حدة معارضة الأوبرا ووصفت بـ أنها مجدفة ..وفي العام 1868 أصدر الإمبراطور الصيني تانغجي التحريم الرسمي الأول واصفا حديقة الفاونيا بالفاسدة .. قأمر بإحراق كل النسخ وتحريم كل انتاجاتها ، بما فيها أي تعليق كتب عنها ..وتستمر الرقابة على هذه الأوبرا حتى يومنا هذا ..تقول الكاتبة ليزا سي .: باستثناء اللقاءات العاطفية بين شخصين غير متزوجين اعتقد أنني أعرف لماذا اعتبر الناس هذه الأوبرا مزعجة .. لأنه أول عمل أدبي في تاريخ الصين تقوم فيه البطلة ، وهي فتاة في السادسة عشرة من عمرها بتقرير مصيرها ..وفي تلك الأيام سمح للنساء في استثناءات نادرة بقراءة الأوبرا دون سماعها أو مشاهدتها ..تأثرت الفتيات الثريات والمتعلمات ممن أتيحت لهن تلك الفرصة (فتيات بين 13 و 16 وزيجاتهن مرتبة مسبقاً ) بقصة الأوبرا أكثر من غيرهن ..فقد قلدن البطلة "لينيانغ" وامتنعن عن الطعام وذبلن ومتن وكلهن أمل أنهن قد يستطعن بطريقة ما أن يحددن أقدراهن مثل لينيانغ .حدث هذا في الصين في القرن السابع عشر وعرفن تلك الفتيات بالعذارى الملتاعات ..بطلة الرواية (زهرة الفاواتيا ) هي واحدة من تلك الفتيات ..قرأت كل نسخ الأوبرا . وتشبعت بها وعشقتها وتماهت معها ..واحتفالا بعيد ميلادها السادس عشر وقبل أشهر قليلة من زواجها المدبر مسبقا .. قرر والدها أن ينتج نسخة منزلية من الأوبرا واستضافة كثير من الأثرياء وكبار القوم في المدينة وكان من ضمن المدعوين خطيب ابنته (رين وو ) ..وسمح لنساء المنزل والضيفات بالإستماع للأوبرا - لا مشاهدتها .. ومجرد الموافقة على استماعهن للاوبرا هو حدث نادر وربما لم يحدث من قبل ..ولأن الأوبرا طويلة ومليئة بالمشاهد والموسيقى ..قرر والدها أن تستمر لثلاث ليال ..في الليلة الأولى تسترق زهرة الفاوانيا النظر عبر الستار ، لترى شابا وسيما واسترعي كل اهتمامها .وتترك الحفل المقام على شرفها لتستنشق بعض الهواء النقي وبالصدفة تلتقي ذلك الشاب وتتحدث معه وتكتشف أنه شاعر ..وتلتقيه في الليلتين التاليتين أيضاً ..وتقع في حبه .. وتقرر انها لم تعد تريد الزواج بخطيبها ..وبسبب سلسلة من الأحداث جمع بينها الحظ السيء وسوء التفاهم ( نعرف أن خطيبها و الشاب الوسيم هما الشخص ذاته ولكن زهرة الفاوانيا لا تعرف ذلك ) وسوء الحظ هذا سيلازمها طويلا .فـ تعزف عن الطعام وتستغرق في قراءة أوبرا حديقة الفاوانيا وتبدأ بكتابة تعليقها على الأوبرا وتكتب أيضاً الكثير من الشعر لحبيها ..وحين تعرف الحقيقة أخيراً يكون الآوان قد فات ..وتكون هي على فراش الموت تحتضر .لتموت زهرة الفاوانيا ..في الجزء الثاني من الرواية نستغرق في طقوس الموت الصينية وكثير من صور الحياة ما بعد الموت .في الأجزاء المتبقية من الرواية ، تكافح زهرة الفاوانيا من أجل أن تكمل كتابة أفكارها ورأيها في أوبرا حديقة الفاوانيا وفي هذه الأثناء يكون رين وو ( حبيبها والرجل الذي كان من المقرر أن تتزوجه ) يتزوج من ابنة المفوض تان "زي".بعد أن تكتب زي تان تعليقها على جزء آخر من الأوبرا تموت هي الأخرى ..وبعد مرور عدة سنوات يتزوج رين للمرة الثالثة من كيان بي ..والتي تكمل عمل الزوجتين السابقتين وتتمم التعليق على الأوبرا وتنشره بمساعدة زوجها رغم اعتراض المجتمع ولكن التعليق ينشر احيراً وباسم الزوجات الثلاث .في الرواية كثير من التقاليد الصينية / مثل عادة ربط الأقدام "المريعة " والأشباح الجائعة والأشباح الغاضبة والساعية للإنتقام ، وقد يكون أغربها طقس زواج الأشباح .ـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــأخيراً أود أن أتحدث عن الترجمة..ترجمة الرواية التي قامت بها الدار العربية للعلوم جميلة جدا .بإستثناء ترجمة اسم الرواية ، فاسمها هو موعد مع القدر ..وهي ترجمة غير موفقة .. فمن اسم جميل مثل Peony in Love إلى اسم مستهلك ولا نكهة له ولا معنى مثل موعد مع القدر .

  • Ruba AlTurki
    2018-09-17 13:49

    زهرة الفاوانيا العاشقةرواية تتحدث عن شابة صينية في القرن السابع عشر وقصة عشقها البريئة وأحداث حياتها ووفاتها وعجائب اخرى على مدى اربعين عاما واكثرللمرة الاولى اقرأ عن الصين وفي الادب الصيني واتعرف على تراث وتقاليد وشعائر وخرافات مبهرة لهذا الشعب العظيمرغم غرابة واختلاف العديد من الامور والثقافات والاديان والمجتمعات في الرواية عن كل ما اعرفه الا ان اوجه التشابه كانت عديدة ووجدت نفسي في كثير من الافكار والمشاعر ربما لان الرواية تتحدث عن الروابط السرية العميقة بين النساء ارتبطت بها ولكن مما لاشك فيه انها رواية تستحق الاقتناء وانصح بها جدا خصوصا للبنات رغم ان عنوان الرواية يتحدث عن الحب ومحتواها عموما عن قصة حب خيالية الا انها راقية ولاتجد فيها ابتذال ونجاسة وقلة الاحترام في الروايات الاخرى الرواية بكل بساطة نالت اعجابي الشديد جدا واستمتعت بها حتى النهاية واتمنى لو اراها كعمل سينمائي او انيمي :-)

  • Sharon
    2018-09-24 14:35

    Occasionally, rarely, I read a book after which I need to take a few days to come up for air, so to speak. A book that moves me so deeply and which leaves me thinking ...and thinking. Peony in Love is just such a book. A true work of art. Amazing, beginning to end. As I told a friend, I CARED so much about what was happening with the characters, I was literally losing sleep. I wish I could add an extra star to my rating - this is a six-star novel. Kudos to Lisa See for knocking another one out of the park (and then some).

  • Stacy
    2018-09-09 12:53

    This book was trying too hard to be existential and had wierd poetry and the story went nowhere, but pretended that it would.

  • Caroline
    2018-09-16 17:25

    Peony is a 15-year-old girl in Manchu China who falls in love with the opera The Peony Pavilion, a love story in which the ghost of a girl is brought back to life by the man she loves. Peony's father hosts a production of the opera (which Peony assumes is for her, rather than to impress the powerful men that her father has visiting), and Peony meets a young man three nights in a row. She falls in love with him, but at the end of the third night they know they both must go on to their arranged marriages and will most likely never see each other again. Peony becomes obsessed with the opera, and stops eating almost completely in her want to write a complete commentary on it.Anything more will spoil significant parts of the plot, but I'll say that it heavily involves ghosts and the Chinese afterworld. It's really a fascinating read, both to get an idea of the "lovesick girls" (who actually did exist--girls who wasted away, pining for love after reading The Peony Pavilion) and to get a better understanding of old Chinese ghosts and death rituals. It's a little fantastical at times, but it definitely not so much that it overtakes the core of the novel: a woman's craving to be heard.Definitely nothing like her previous novel, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, but I think that's what made it so great. It gives a good understanding of other aspects of Chinese culture, in a time where women were trying to have their creative voices heard rather than continuing their quiet existence in their family's inner chambers. Very beautiful story!

  • Julie Ekkers
    2018-09-10 13:47

    I just didn't like this book (though I did like Snow Flower and the Secret Fan). To be fair, I didn't expect to like Peony, but one of the reviews said it "belonged in my beach bag,' which sounded like what I was after at the time. I just couldn't get into it. I think because there's SO much exposition of this Chinese opera in the background, and too little (for me anyway) about the main characters. it's also one of these books where everything is set in motion by a COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE misunderstanding and I have absolutely no patience for those scenarios.

  • Bushra
    2018-09-04 12:29

    التقاليد سمة مميزة لكل شعب الا ان البعض منها يزيد عن حده ويلغي بشرية الانسان ومشاعره.. أن نأخذ العلاقات وتقريبا كل شيء من باب الالتزام والمسؤولية فقط لا غير وعلى رأس ذلك العلاقات الأسرية بين الكبار والصغار.. والوضع الاجتماعي المربك للمرأة اما أن تكون زوجة فاضلة يتعامل معها الرجل من منطلق المسؤولية والواجب واما أن تكون محظية محبوبة وملعونة في نفس الوقت.. وبفضل التقاليد طبعا يتم عقاب الناس على أشياء لا ذنب لهم بها كما لو كانت الفضيلة هي القوة والرذيلة هي الضعف فيصبح المجتمع طبقي ويتميز بالقسوة وعدم الرحمة وتفرقة بالتعامل الى أبعد حد ممكن.. أبرزت ليزا سي كل ذلك من خلال شخصياتها النسائية بأسلوب في غاية الخيال والرقة..

  • Grace Tjan
    2018-09-26 15:34

    'My eyes were shaped like bamboo leaves; my brows were like gentle brushstrokes limned by a calligrapher'.The notion that 17th century Chinese characters would speak like this for the benefit of 21st century English-speaking readers is preposterous to say the least. It is obvious that the author has conducted extensive research on the history and culture of late Ming/ early Qing dynasty Hangzhou, and the fruits of that research abound in this historical-supernatural novel. However, the anthropological details, more often than not, tend to choke the life out of the characters and sometimes even the narrative itself. The historical fact behind the story itself is interesting, namely that the cultural renaissance that took place in late Ming dynasty Hangzhou gave aristocratic Chinese women unprecedented access to education, and even enabled them to actively participate in the literary scene. Three of these women, all the wives of Wu Ren, wrote The Three Wives Commentary on the Peony Pavillion, apparently the 'first book of its kind to have been published anywhere in the world to have been written by women', according to the author. However, instead of telling us the story of how these women managed to write such a work, the author chose to wallow in questionable exoticism and new-agey philosophizing. The emphasis on exoticism, some of which seem to be contrived for the benefit of Western audiences, reduces the complexity and richness of Chinese culture into a set of cruel customs and absurd superstitions.SPOILERSPeony is an insipid 16-year old girl who wilfully starves herself to death after she was betrothed to a stranger, who later turns out to be her paramour, Wu Ren. For some undecipherable reason (morbidity?, stupidity?), she never bothers to inquire about the identity of her fiancee until it is too late. Due to some sort of a shenanigan involving her ancestral tablet, she is condemned to spend her time wandering the afterlife as a hungry ghost. This exploration of the Chinese afterlife is interesting for a while, but it quickly degenerates into a mushy ghost story when Peony decides to stalk her former fiancee. With her ghostly powers, she interferes in his life, including choosing and grooming a three-year old girl for his future wife. The ick factor multiplies when we learn that she also participates (in her ghostly way) in the couple's bedroom activities. Finally, after further trials and tribulations, she is released from her status as a hungry ghost to join her revered ancestors in heaven.Two stars for the story and writing, an extra star for the research.

  • YoSafBridg
    2018-09-14 11:26

    As i was making my way through the first section of Peony in Love, i was beginning to think i should have paid more heed to the valentine heart on its spine (my library system's way of signifying that it was of the romance genre) because Peony was mooning like a lovesick girl who knew not enough of the world and it was all just a little overmuch for me.But then she died, and it got so much better. I had rather eagerly anticipated this novel, because i had loved Lisa See's last, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.Set shortly after the fall of the Ming Dynasty in seventeenth century China and based on real historic characters and works of literature, Peony in Love is an involving tale of an often unknown period of women writers.Soon to celebrate her sixteenth birthday (on the the rather auspicious Double Seven~the seventh day of the seventh month~for which her father has commissioned a very special performance of the opera The Peony Pavilion, her very favorite~and scandalously enough women will be allowed to watch, though from behind a screen.) Peony is also about to embark on young womanhood, is betrothed to a man she has not met (as Chinese tradition of the day dictated) and will soon be marrying out. On the first night of the three-night opera she leaves to take some air and meets a young poet who reminds her of the hero of the opera. It is, but of course, love at first sight. Peony is destined to pine away for her young poet and die of love-sickness before she can be married as have so many young girls before her~victims just like the heroine the idolize in the The Peony Pavilion.It is only after death that Peony can begin to see the world and her family for what they really are, even though these perceptions go through a couple of changes even then. She continues her growth process even after death. After death she learns of the relationships her family members had with each other, as well as changing her views about the relationships she had with them. She develops a relationship with the grandmother she has always worshiped and respected as an ancestor and learns to see her as a real woman. Peony grows into a woman who makes mistakes and longs to be heard (a problem of many women as they moved from the slightly more liberal Ming dynasty to the more repressive Manchus, even more so for Peony facing the challenges of being a ghost), she also grows to truly love her husband in death and learns to recognize the difference between that and what she felt as a young girl. Though many of the elements of this tale i could see coming i still enjoyed the process of reading about them (and isn't that what it's all about anyway~and there really aren't any new tales to tell~isn't that part of the point?)See does a beautiful job of depicting the turmoil of the teenage heart, as well as the problems faced with growing older and facing our mistakes, though she did it in a novel way. She also illuminated a Chinese belief system that i knew nothing about. I deeply enjoyed this novel and gained an even greater appreciation for See's artistry. It made me want to learn more about The Three Wives Commentary, the original inspiration for this novel, which was the "first book of its kind to been published anywhere in the world to have been written by women" (the three consecutive wives of Wu Ren) as well as bringing back memories of the wonderful but haunting Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by the incomparable Maxine Hong Kingston.

  • Nojood Alsudairi
    2018-09-05 09:42

    فجعني الموت ولم أعرف أنه البداية لعالم غريب من الأسلاف والأشباح الجائعة. كم هو قاس الشرق على المرأة وكم أجرمت الصين في حقها حتى في المعتقدات والأساطير. المرأة التي تموت عند الولادة يحكم على روحها أن تذهب إلى بحيرة تجميع الدم عقابا لها على تركها لطفلها وزوجها وكأنها اختارت الموت بنفسها؟! والمرأة التي ينسى اهلها -أو يتعمدون- عدم وضع نقطة حمراء لها في لوح الأسلاف عند موتها تهيم روحها كشبح جائع لا يتذكره أحد، وكذلك المرأة التي لا تقدم لها القرابين. المضحك في الأمر أن الأسلاف الذين يتحكمون في المصائر من الممكن رشوتهم.تكمن قيمة هذه الرواية في العوالم التي تفتحها لنا لفهم أعمق لثقافة من الصعب الوصول إلى عمق تراثها

  • Connie
    2018-09-24 17:32

    The first time I had contact with this book, was by listening to it on my way to work. As soon as it was done, I ran out and bought the book. I just *needed* to view the words that I had heard on the audiobook. As soon as I finished reading the last page, I turned to page 1 and started over again. This is the first and only time that I have ever done that. This is one of my all time favorite books, and I keep a copy beside my bed, so it is never far from my mind...

  • Marissa
    2018-09-26 12:38

    I really enjoyed reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Peony in Love has a few of the same elements but is, nicely, a different novel. Peony is the only child of a wealthy couple who experienced some hard times during the Manchu raids. Peony, encouraged by her father, loves to read. She reads extensively but her favorite work is the Peony Pavilion--an opera. Her father stages the opera at her home and the women are allowed to watch through a screen. Peony meets a boy, falls in love, and begins to follow some of the same experiences as the main character in the opera. Convinced that she'll be marrying someone other than the boy she met, she succumbs to "lovesickness" and slowly starves herself to death. Mix-ups happen and Peony's spirit isn't able to move on since her tablet hasn't been dotted yet. A good portion of the novel is her experiences as her ghost waits to be able to move on in the afterlife.I enjoyed the novel. I don't know a lot of the Chinese beliefs and other traditions, just bits here and there. It was fascinating learning a bit of what the Chinese afterlife would have been like. On dying, Peony's spirit splits into three pieces, one of which is to go into her tablet to stay with her family. As her tablet hasn't been dotted, Peony becomes a 'Hungry ghost." Fascinating.Another cultural thing I found of interest was the lovesick maidens. While they are mentioned in the story, the comments at the end of the novel by Lisa See brought their stories more to mind. See mentions that in Chinese history, there were a number of girls who, like in the opera and Peony, become lovesick and starve themselves. The idea is introduced through the opera with the idea that the women would gain freedom and control over their lives in the afterlife and choose thier own husbands. This idea of power over oneself is so appealing that many women practiced physical control over their bodies by becoming anorexic to the point of death, possibly hoping for the chance for a choice in love in the afterlife.

  • Denise
    2018-09-18 17:29

    Lisa See's writing is beautiful, and I understand this book is supposed to be about the women of China who wanted their voices to be heard. But what I found really fascinating about it was the descriptions of Chinese rituals and superstitions, and learning what the Chinese thought about death. The descriptions were so vivid to me that I felt like I could really see the pavilions, the plum tree, the Viewing Terrace. There were so many sentences that made me reflect about life in general. "My heart is empty and my life has no value anymore. Each moment is a thousand tears." " No one can exist without joy, anger, grief, fear, love, hate and desire. The Seven Emotions are what makes us human." This is a well written historical fiction novel.

  • Cecily
    2018-09-18 15:37

    An interesting story, with a clever structure, weaving parallels between the legend of the Peony Pavilion with the "real" story of a girl called Peony, though that does make the first third very predictable.I found the faux naive voice of Peony a little irritating at times; it is too didactic in the way it fills readers in on the historical detail of customs and beliefs, being more like a factual book than a novel. Whilst I found all that interesting, I think it could have been presented more subtly (or else with footnotes). Still, it was interesting to consider that footbinding could actually be an act or rebellion and even freedom for poorer girls (as in Snow Flower too).For much of the book I was concerned that the message was that reading is a dangerous activity for women, though that is finally overturned – sort of. There were incongruous bits that sounded too modern and that a good editor should have picked up on as they were needlessly distracting: some of the descriptions of the empowering of women; lovesickness often sounded too much like a modern analysis of anorexia - explicitly when Ze says "I stopped eating, and for once I had total control over my destiny", and the ghastly line stolen from a budget sci fi movie "We asked the netherworld bureaucrats and received one time return-to-earth permits".I also found the "clouds and rain" threesome/intimacy by proxy, a rather disquieting concept. Although I realise it was meant to be a beautiful coming together, it rather tainted the rest of the story for me.So overall, interesting, but for me, a frustrating and disappointing read, albeit quite educational. It only gets as many as 3 stars because I like reading things that evoke China.

  • طَيْف
    2018-09-17 14:29

    "إن الظلال والأحلام والانعكاسات في المرايا والبرك وحتى الذكريات واهية ومتلاشية...ولكن أتقل حقيقة عن الحقيقة؟!"إنها الصين في القرن السابع عشر، حيث تعيش "زهرة الفاوانيا" الفتاة الصينية في بيئة ثرية، وبين جدران منزلٍ لا تستطيع تجاوزها لترى العالم خلفها...فالمرأة الصالحة يتم تهيئتها لتليق بزوجها وتقوم على خدمته وطاعتهزهرة الفاوانيا تقرأ "حديقة الفاوانيا" مرات ومرات وبأكثر من رواية...ويتعلق قلبها بتلك الفتاة وحكاية حبها ونهايتها...وفي عيد ميلادها السادس عشر، والذي ستقترن بعده بشهور بزوجها الذي اختارته العائلة ولم تره سابقا، يقيم والدها احتفالا كبيرا يعرض فيه مسرحية "حديقة الفاوانيا" ربما حبا لابنته التي علمها أن القراءة تدخلها عوالم مختلفة...ورغم اعتراضات والدتها لأن القصة تحكي عن فتاة اختارت مصيرها بنفسها، وهذا مخالف للتقاليد الصينية في ذلك الوقت...وخلال العرض تتعرف مصادفة على شاب يهواه قلبها، ولا تعلم أنه هو المختار للزواج بها، فتضرب عن الطعام وتعلم قبل موتها بالحقيقة، ليبدأ الجزء الثاني من الرواية حين تتحول زهرة الفاوانيا لشبح...وتأخذ الأحداث منحى غريبا يختلط فيه الواقع بالخيال...والعالم الحقيقي بعالم الأشباحأحببت الجزء الأول منها وقصة الحب التي جمعت تلك الزهرة بعاشقها، ومحاولات "زهرة الفاوانيا" أن تجعل صوتها مسموعا في وقت حرمت فيه المرأة من الظهور...ولا يعني ذلك أن متعة إتمامها توقفتبالمجمل لم أرها قصة حبّ عادية...بل إطلالة على الصين بطقوسها وعاداتها وتقاليدها وثقافاتها ومعاناة النساء فيها، وحتى الأحداث السياسية الجارية في تلك الفترة لما تبدل الحكم في الصين من أسرة مينج إلى المانشواللغة شاعرية والترجمة رائعة...وأنصح بقراءتها.

  • Irs
    2018-08-30 15:38

    Un auténtico despropósito, y me duele decir esto de Lisa See, que ha sido mi gran descubrimiento de este año, pero es que no hay por dónde coger a este libro. Es tan solo una sucesión de barbaridades que hace una niña celosa y datos y datos sobre el mundo más allá de lo terrenal que aburren a las ovejas. A Lisa See el tema paranormal le queda grande, no me lo he creído en ningún momento y si no le acepto a otros escritores favoritos el tema del amor a primera vista, tan poco creíble y usado hasta la saciedad en la literatura, tampoco se lo voy a aceptar a ella, porque además hace un uso tan exagerado de ese tropo literario que llega a hartar. Peonía tiene dieciséis años, vale, pero es que es cansina, obsesiva y repetitiva hasta el hartazgo, además de que me parece increíble que se promulgue por sus acciones una misoginia tal que tenía que volver a la portada mil veces para convencerme de que Lisa See había escrito este libro. Si empezáis por esta autora, no toquéis este libro porque sin duda, no se ha lucido para nada escribiéndolo, quedaos con el maravilloso El abanico de seda, que merece realmente mucho la pena.

  • Adiba Jaigirdar
    2018-08-30 17:50

    Young Peony was brought up to be a good daughter and wife. At her sixteenth birthday, she knows that her future is set but when she chances a meeting with a handsome man at a theater performance, she begins to feel a longing and desire that sets the course for this novel. Originally, when I read the blurb of this book, I thought it had an incredibly interesting concept and was rather excited to read a novel that was so rich in Chinese culture and tradition, since I would be rather ignorant in these matters. So naturally, I really wanted to like this book. It's quite unfortunate that the book had very few redeeming qualities.The character of Peony, I felt, was one that was very difficult to sympathise with. Her naivety, innocence and idealism can be dismissed as a result of her young age for a certain part of the novel but since it persists for the whole duration of it, it's easy to conclude that these things are deeply-entrenched character traits rather than anything else. There is growth in Peony's character during the novel, noticeable growth but none of that makes me like her more as a character. The writing itself is simplistic, which works for the book for the most part. However, a lot of the descriptions felt jarring and contrived, as if the author was purposely trying to be too poetic - to the point where the prose was actually slightly amusing as opposed to solemn or sincere.However, the plot itself was probably the biggest problem of the novel for me. Reading the Afterword of the book, Lisa See seems to believe that she has managed to capture some form of female historical resistance or empowerment through this piece of literature and whilst there are certain aspects of that, they are quickly overridden by a largely misogynistic narrative. I understand that See was attempting to tell the true story of these women but she admits to the lack of knowledge about the three wives of the Wu family. It seems that See invented much of what happened in the latter half of the book - the supernatural elements of it. So it is disappointing and slightly sickening actually, the sheer amount of disrespect given to women in the plot during this latter half. I felt this especially through the portrayal of Ze's character. She's made out to be a villain for the majority of the book, whilst we're supposed to be sympathise with the main character of Peony, despite the fact that Peony robbed Ze of her agency and her body. Whilst there were certain narratives within the overarching story that I enjoyed; such as the excursions of Peony's mother and grandmother (overridden by the Manchus invasion - I felt it eventually told a story about a woman's place being at home and punished the two characters for their attempt to traverse outside of their gender roles) and the Banana Garden Five, the overall story, although boasted of female empowerment and feminist ideologies, entirely failed in its promises.

  • Lyn Elliott
    2018-09-09 17:49

    A friend recommended I read this book, possibly because she knows I am interested in Chinese history. I did skip right through it so that I could talk to her about it. Syrupy romances and ghost stories are way out of my reading range. But the depictions of the lives and values of wealthy Chinese families, especially this female view, are fascinating if horrifying. Almost every day I am consciously aware of how fortunate I am to be a woman in a society like Australia, where women are still not equal to men but where we are free to make choices about our own lives and where mutilation, beatings and enslavement are outside the law, not accepted ways of treating women.

  • Margie
    2018-09-25 15:31

    Peony in Love is a ghost story and a love story set in seventeenth-century China. The research that Lisa See put into this novel is formidable as always. The novel enlightens one about seventeenth century family relationships and ancestor veneration in China, beliefs about the afterlife, the history of a famous opera, "The Peony Pavilion" and the effects that it had on young women, the renaissance of women poets and writers during that era, foot-binding, marriage customs, the political scene at the time the Ming Dynasty fell and the Qing Dynasty took over, especially the effects of war on the population, and the life of the upper classes vs. that of the lower classes. This page turning novel of love, loss and family is also a ghost story that kept me up all night wanting to know the ending. Thank you again, Lisa See, for transporting me to another time and place and entertaining me with an engrossing history lesson.

  • Jen
    2018-09-25 14:33

    Lisa See's research comes out in almost every passage of this historical novel of the first Manchu dynasty in China. Because my daughter is learning about China, I gravitated towards this novel in eagerness to learn more about the power, or lack of power, that women have had in China throughout the centuries. See follows the plot of a famous Chinese opera, The Peony Pavilion, by having her young maiden be so swept away with emotion and desire that she stops eating and loses her chance at earthly happiness. Veering from the plot of the opera, she then shows how her maiden gains wisdom from the trials placed into her afterlife and eventually finds her voice by working with her earthly sister-wives.If you don't have patience for speculation about the afterlife, don't bother picking this novel up since other reviewers have described it as being too "metaphysical" for their taste. And if you're all about the consummation of young love, this won't be your cup of tea either. Rather, this novel seems to be a meditation on the many different kinds of love that come into our lives. Being a lovesick maiden is well and good, but hanging around to experience the love of parenting, of mature love with a partner, of a mature relationship with your own parent, definitely has its own rewards, probably way greater than which we see between Romeo and Juliet, to mix my historical locations and stories.The hidden reward for me was to discover that Imperial China had its published female writers and women of accomplishment. It was a short time in China's history, but how awesome to discover that even in repressive China, women had found a way to be heard and to show what their lives were like. This is an inspiration, and gives me an opening in conversations about the power of women when I talk with my daughters.

  • B J
    2018-09-22 17:45

    I read this book by accident, knew nothing about it, never read the author before and the book was there for the taking so I took it. It takes place in 17th century China. and describes the life of a 15 year old girl named Peony, in a affluent family, educated, cloistered and in love with the opera, The Peony Pavilion which I hope I can also get a copy of to read. Some would consider it a love story , some a coming of age, others fantasy , and also a ghost story. To me it was historical fiction and I learned so much about ancient china culture. From the reviews that I have read since finishing you either love this book or hate it. Something no one mentioned but which I believe, is that in 17th century China there was a rash of cases of anorexia but they called it love sickness, occurring primarily in adolescents girls, and to me understandable because of the lack of any control over the destiny of your life. I loved this book, it moved at a slow pace but spanned many years and at least half of the book is told by a ghost but revealing so many cultural beliefs of the Chinese at that time. I am hopeful that the culture presented is accurate because nothing upsets me more than to later discover very little of what was presented was fabricated.

  • bonnie
    2018-09-25 16:53

    I liked this book the same way I likedThe Other Boleyn Girl. That is, I had trouble putting it down even at work. Indeed, they are the same kind of book - historical fiction taking a partially true story from a very very long time ago and spicing it up by adding elements of a romance novel. The historical fiction aspect makes it not trashy, but it is just as devourable as trash. It does not disappoint in this respect. And in depicting the afterworld according to Chinese mythology... MAN, it is SO COOL. If I'm going to get critical, there are just a couple of things. Two major plot points that I got the feeling were supposed to be surprises were highly predictable. I in fact called them as soon as the issue presented itself. The ending is a little anticlimactic. And the title was sort of cheesy and didn't quite fit. After reading the afterword I realize that the protagonist's name didn't HAVE to be Peony, and is it really necessary that there be two novels set in Chinese dynasties titled after a protagonist namedPeony? But really, I cannot complain after such a highly enjoyable experience. Man, I am such a GIRL.

  • Terrie
    2018-08-31 09:24

    I don't think I will ever forget the details of this book. Written by Lisa See (SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN) I was expecting a lot. Reading the author's notes after finishing the book cinched the 5 star rating. Realizing the amount of truth and actual history was astonishing.This strangely beautiful love story, set in 17th century China, could also be a ghost story, or a story of women's liberation. It had so many layers it is hard to categorize. Peony's story mirrors that of the Chinese opera, THE PEONY PAVILION, when she finds herself heartsick with desire after a forbidden meeting on her 16th birthday during the Festival of Double Seven at her father's villa. The main theme of the book- Love "grows ever deeper. The living may die of it, by its power the dead live again." Many details of customs and beliefs are explained, mainly death, funerals and especially the afterlife. This book is very ethereal. I will be haunted by it for a long time.

  • booklady
    2018-09-17 13:27

    I almost didn't finish this book, but I'm glad I did. It's uneven quality accounts for the rating. Considering the ending, which redeems so much which seemed sensational, tawdry and even dangerous and the fact that it is based on a true story, I was inclined to be generous. Still, I struggled between liking what See did by giving us a view of life after death, and not caring for the toxicity of too much romance. The main character was swept away by her own love affair. Although that wasn't the whole point of the story, it was still its major focus and with devastating results. Peony's discoveries and maturation were far more interesting to me, as was the reality of life beyond the grave and the lasting, wide-ranging and yet variable consequences of decisions. The first quote below was included more because it was indicative/representative of the novel than because I liked it per se.