Four Sisters of Hofei by Annping Chin - review by Jonathan Mirsky

Jonathan Mirsky

A Sorority of Character

Four Sisters of Hofei


Bloomsbury 310pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

THIS WONDERFUL BOOK, elegiac, poignant, and recreative of a lost world, came to me after a year of reading bad novels about China by Chinese women: cheap, sensationalist, thrill-seeking - books without merit, peddled by publishers panting for profit from something, anything, Chinese-y.

Now Anniing-chin, who teaches Chinese history at Yale, has had the tremendous luck to interview four Chinese sisters born between 1907 and 1914, all miraculously still alive and eloquent. Their lives began at the tail end of the Manchu empire, in a family of great wealth, refinement and learning. Chin

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