Monday July 6, 2020

Mixed account of life behind Chinese doors

The Bathing Women by Tie Ning. Blue Door, €18.90. Reviewed by Joanne Hayden.

13th April, 2013
The Bathing Women: For all its choppiness, the novel stands out for its insight into contemporary China.


During the Cultural Revolution, one of the main characters in The Bathing Women attends a "denouncement meeting". A teacher, branded a "female hooligan" for having a child outside of marriage, is given the option of exposing her daughter or eating a cupful of shit. "Under the gaze of everyone, she grabbed the teacup with two hands and drank it down in one swallow."

Tiao, a schoolchild at the time, does not participate in the denouncement;...

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