Jonathan Mirsky

Sore Feet, Heavenly Eyes

China Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation


Chatto & Windus 435pp £20 order from our bookshop

I have never reviewed three books by the same author for Literary Review until now. In 2002 I wrote of Xinran’s first book, The Good Women of China, which was based on her interviews during a call-in radio programme she conducted in China, that it was the most eloquent account of the lives of Chinese women I had ever read. Two years later I found her second book, Sky Burial, disappointing; it was based on a two-day interview with a Chinese woman who recalled in minute detail events in Tibet decades earlier – and then vanished. So, after two other books I haven’t read, how is Xinran doing?

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