Wednesday, August 29, 2007

64. "Peony in Love" - Lisa See



I keep records of who recommends a book, whether the book won the Pulitzer or is up for the Man Booker award, perhaps something I heard about on NPR.

I have no idea how I found out about this book.

It's the only thing that irritates me because it is so beautifully written that I want to pay tribute to whomever told me about it.

Peony is a Chinese girl who is soon to be given away in an arranged marriage. For three wondrous nights, she meets a man in her family's gardens, falling in love with him so deeply that she refuses to eat while preparing for her wedding. Of course, predictably in the fairy tale style, she dies, and the man of her dreams was to be her groom.

It is her afterlife that fascinates. With nods to all of the Chinese religious days, Peony's story as a ghost is entertaining as well as informative. While not as deep as other novels (particularly The Gift of Rain, which is also about Chinese culture - to be reviewed soon), it is lovely in its detail and wistful impressions of love.

3.8 out of 5.0 China Whites.

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