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Shanghai Girls

por Lisa See

Séries: Shanghai Girls (1)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
4,5293002,387 (3.81)282
Two sisters leave Shanghai to find new lives in 1930s Los Angeles in this fresh, fascinating adventure.
  1. 20
    Girl in Translation por Jean Kwok (terran)
    terran: Chinese Americans, Mother and daughters, Family, Poverty, Immigrants
  2. 03
    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet por Jamie Ford (tahcastle)
    tahcastle: Both novels illustrated the discrimination in the United States, of Japanese during the war and of the Chinese after the war.
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Inglês (300)  Espanhol (1)  Francês (1)  Holandês (1)  Todas as línguas (303)
Mostrando 1-5 de 303 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Hated the ending. ( )
  Maryjane75 | Sep 30, 2023 |
Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. The beginning started off really strong and I was really invested in what happened though there was some really heavy, brutal stuff that happened. In the middle it started jumping around time-wise a bit more with less description and passing mentions of big events and that threw me off a bit. I do want to read the second in the series though. ( )
  Fatula | Sep 25, 2023 |
1930; no money shanghai father arranged marriage to LA mountain men
  ndfan19 | Aug 17, 2023 |
Corre el año 1937 cuando Shanghai está considerada el París del continente asiático. En la sofisticada y opulenta ciudad, donde conviven mendigos, millonarios, gángsters, jugadores y artistas, la vida sonríe a las hermanas Pearl y May Chin, hijas de un acaudalado hombre de negocios. De temperamentos casi opuestos, las dos son hermosas y jóvenes, y pese haber sido criadas en el seno de una familia de viejos valores tradicionales, viven con la sola preocupación de asimilar todo lo que llega de Occidente. Visten a la última moda y posan para los artistas publicitarios, que ven en el retrato de las dos hermanas la proyección de los sueños de prosperidad de todo un país. Pero cuando la fortuna familiar sufre un golpe irreversible, el futuro que aguarda a Pearl y May tiñe sus vidas de una sensación de precariedad e incertidumbre hasta ese momento impensable. Con los bombardeos japoneses a las puertas de la ciudad, las hermanas iniciarán un viaje que marcará sus vidas para siempre, y cuando lleguen a su destino en California, su compleja relación se pondrá de manifiesto: ambas luchan por permanecer unidas, a pesar de los celos y la rivalidad, a la vez que intentan hallar fuerzas para salir adelante en las más que difíciles circunstancias que el destino les depara.
  Natt90 | Mar 29, 2023 |
Pearl and her sister, May, live the good life in Shanghai, in 1935. They earn money posing for an artist friend, who puts their faces on commercial calendars, so they are known as “beautiful girls.” They get good tables at clubs and restaurants and party at all hours, hardly noticing the vast ocean of poor surrounding them.

Pearl, elder by three years, feels herself the less favored sister, though she’s gone to college, and May won’t ever. Their parents, traditional and strict, dote on the younger, prettier, daughter, to the point that Pearl doubts they even notice her, except to criticize, which her father does constantly. May’s not above using her favored position to twist him around her finger.

However, all that’s about to become irrelevant. To the sisters’ shock, their father says he’s had severe financial reversals. Not only does that mean the party’s over, he’s arranged marriages for them, to sons of his most important creditor, who lives in Los Angeles. After the wedding, a ceremony that pleases nobody, May and Pearl are to sail to Hong Kong, after which they’ll rejoin their new husbands in the United States. That’s it; no argument.

Needless to say, the sisters hate every part of this, and they tell each other they’ll do what no Chinese daughter ever does, disobey their father. They have no intention of leaving Shanghai. Their husbands are ridiculous matches for them, especially May’s groom, who’s only fourteen and seems not all there.

But their father hasn’t told them the hardest truth, which is that he’s flat broke and in debt to loan sharks, who’ll throw the family onto the street in a couple days. As if that weren’t enough, May and Pearl don’t even have time to plead, because the Japanese attack. Leaving Shanghai now becomes a necessity as well as a chore.

You may wonder, as I did, how traditional Chinese parents—the mother binds her feet—have raised two daughters most people of that time and place would have called libertine (and only if they were being polite). But never mind. See writes with the force of gravity, and when the worlds she creates collide, the shock waves are enormous. Not only that, duty and tradition versus modernity and independence poses a crucial conflict, embodied in the sisters, so if their relative freedom seems a trifle convenient, See keeps returning to that struggle. Pearl feels that May is impetuous, selfish, self-centered, and brazen; May believes that Pearl is staid, masochistic, and too accepting by half. They’re jealous as hell of each other, and they’re both right.

But there’s a cultural context to every action or feeling, whether having to do with being female in a society that worships sons and despises daughters; having to obey a male authority, no matter who or how weak; and what money means. See spares no detail, sanitizing nothing, excusing nothing, and the cruelties of life are ever-present:

Many horrors happen to the sister, involving violence, heartache, bigotry, and degradation, whether as women, as Chinese, or as the newly unfortunate. Throughout, See dwells on the sister bond in which love, jealousy, protectiveness, and resentment reside as uneasy partners. As such, the author explores, again with unflinching focus, what it means to be Chinese, and how Pearl and May struggle to reconcile what they want for themselves with what their culture demands, which in turn must be regulated because of public pressure and the threat of censure or disclosure. What a bold, searing depiction.

I have doubts about Pearl, particularly some of her doormat moments, which I’d think her experience might have led her to rise above, at least on occasion. That question arises most particularly because she’s astute enough to recognize how Chinese women know how to endure without falling apart, whereas men seem more fragile, having to spend so much energy shoring up their stoic facades. Why, then, doesn’t Pearl try to move beyond the role she’s accepted, at least outwardly?

But if that’s a weakness in Shanghai Girls, a necessity to maintain the sibling conflict throughout this narrative and the next—there’s a sequel—it’s a small price to pay. Shanghai Girls is a terrific novel, one that will stay with you. ( )
  Novelhistorian | Jan 25, 2023 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 303 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Lisa See’s “Shanghai Girls” is much loftier than its cover art’s stunning portrait of beautifully adorned Asian women. The author of “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” has written a broadly sweeping tale...
adicionada por Shortride | editarThe New York Times, Janet Maslin (Jun 12, 2009)
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Two sisters leave Shanghai to find new lives in 1930s Los Angeles in this fresh, fascinating adventure.

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