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Lotus (2017)

por Lijia Zhang

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
8019330,509 (3.84)7
"In the mesmerizing debut novel Lotus, a young woman defies her fate and escapes to the city and all it holds for her--be it love, danger, or destiny Surviving by her wits alone, Lotus charges headlong into the neon lights of Shenzhen, determined to pull herself out of the gutter and decide her own fate. Shes different than the other streetwalkers--reserved, even defiant, Lotus holds her secrets behind her red smile. The new millennium should've brought her better luck, but for now she leads a double life, wiring the money home to her family and claiming she earns her wages waiting tables. Her striking eyes catch the attention of many, but Lotus weighs her options between becoming the concubine of a savvy migrant worker or a professional girlfriend to a rich and powerful playboy. Or she may choose the kind and decent Hu Binbing, a photojournalist reporting on China's underground sex trade--who has a hidden past of his own. She knows that fortunes can shift in the toss of a coin, and in the end, she may make a choice that leads her on a different journey entirely. Written with compassion and vivid prose, Lotus was inspired by the deathbed revelation that the authors grandmother had been sold to a brothel in her youth. With insight and empathy, Lijia Zhang reveals the surprising strength found in those confronted with impossible choices" --… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 19 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
I absolutely loved this book. In a way reminiscent of Peter Hessler's books such as Oracle Bones, it brought to life Chinese society through the representative experiences of two of its members. The "prostitute meets nice guy" love story was told without clichés or improbable results, and the main characters felt vivid and true to life. I also loved the chapter titles, which are Chinese idioms, and felt the author's use of English as a non-native speaker was powerful, with just enough variation to make the story feel authentically foreign but not to distract. ( )
  Audacity88 | Feb 9, 2023 |
After so many years I finally read the book. Yes it is a novel and I was fascinated till the end as I was eager to know how the story would end. (I won't tell you!)
The book is one of those that discourage me. Being a writer myself and vaguely planning to write a kind of novel/love story, I feel so poorly able to write anything after reading Lotus. Yes, it it took her some twelve years to write the novel. But how she could develop the story with all the details fascinates me and leaves me with a sense of helplessness. There are many details in the story that sound very familiar to me so I can say she knows what she is talking about. Contrary to what other book reviews may say the depiction of the individuals is pretty realistic, the way they act and feel. That is how many Chinese really are. As mentioned in SCMP: "Male sexuality in the novel is either brutish or monkish. This may be a function of the setting, but in a novel of sexual empathy, this feels like a structural flaw." I tend to disagree because I see it the same way as the author. Many aspects of the attitudes of the people depicted are very realistic. That is how some segments of Chinese society are.
In other words, a thumbs up for the book. Great stuff, at times I felt emotional as some scenes seemed all too familiar.
So I do not fully agree with the review of SCMP.
The full book report: https://www.damulu.com/2020/08/14/lotus-by-lijia-zhang/ ( )
  gilbertkerckhove | Nov 8, 2020 |
Rich Language, Somewhat Flat

I came to "Lotus" after reading Zhang's memoir, "Socialism Is Great!" The two books have many similarities but in the end they both come off as a bit dry with benign conflicts in each.

Lotus is a country girl working at a massage parlor in China's biggest industrial city. She is innocent in that she only becomes realized when she is in contact with other people, like a sexually gratifying client and a middle-aged photographer. This is the book in a nutshell.

Like "Socialism is Great!" the narrative progresses rather slowly. We learn quite a lot of background about people and characters, but the characters are often flat an uninteresting. In between, the middle-aged photographer stumbles through a confusing ex-relationship and Lotus has many dramatic flourishes as there would be in any story about young people. The book is quite long and plenty could have been left on the cutting room floor.

However, like her memoir, Zhang excels at verbal richness. She is poetic, at times sublime. Despite perhaps not enjoying the book as much as other novels about modern China, I will look for Zhang in the future because of her beautiful prose. ( )
  mvblair | Aug 8, 2020 |
Finished this one just in the nick of time to make my Q3 list on 9/29. The protagonist is one of the many factory girls, millions of young Chinese that left mostly rural farms for the Dongguan and Shenzhen factories that need a constant stream of low-cost laborers to function. But after enduring the grueling and unsafe factories for years, Lotus flees and ends up as a prostitute to continue to send money back to her family. The characters were three-dimensional and I thought Zhang did justice to young people feeling caught between small town tradition and the callous reality of living in cities. ( )
  jonerthon | Jun 5, 2020 |
This was a great read and very interesting, especially since I live in Beijing. It gave life to a side of Chinese culture I’m not as familiar with but I do see around. A recommended read. ( )
  midkid88 | Dec 8, 2018 |
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To my beloved maternal grandmother, Yang Huizhen, who survived her life as a "flower girl" in the 1930s.
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"In the mesmerizing debut novel Lotus, a young woman defies her fate and escapes to the city and all it holds for her--be it love, danger, or destiny Surviving by her wits alone, Lotus charges headlong into the neon lights of Shenzhen, determined to pull herself out of the gutter and decide her own fate. Shes different than the other streetwalkers--reserved, even defiant, Lotus holds her secrets behind her red smile. The new millennium should've brought her better luck, but for now she leads a double life, wiring the money home to her family and claiming she earns her wages waiting tables. Her striking eyes catch the attention of many, but Lotus weighs her options between becoming the concubine of a savvy migrant worker or a professional girlfriend to a rich and powerful playboy. Or she may choose the kind and decent Hu Binbing, a photojournalist reporting on China's underground sex trade--who has a hidden past of his own. She knows that fortunes can shift in the toss of a coin, and in the end, she may make a choice that leads her on a different journey entirely. Written with compassion and vivid prose, Lotus was inspired by the deathbed revelation that the authors grandmother had been sold to a brothel in her youth. With insight and empathy, Lijia Zhang reveals the surprising strength found in those confronted with impossible choices" --

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