"But most of the time she didn't feel she was a Beijinger, nor did she feel she was a provincial person, a Fuaner. She felt she didn't belong anywhere, and she often thought this with some spite, some perverse pleasure. It was almost as if she made herself rootless on purpose."
These are the conflicting thoughts of Tiao, one of the main characters in Chinese novelist Tie Ning's English-language debut. Translated by Hongling Zhang and Jason Sommer, The Bathing Women expertly shuttles between circumstance and personal choice, as well as the loss of a generation and haunting memories. It also deftly explores the struggle to maintain relationships in a swiftly changing capital city and the disjointed emotions arising from living as a foreigner in Chicago. Ning creates an impressive, expansive portrait of survival...
Beyond the Book
Short story writer, Chinese novelist and the youngest, first female President of the Chinese Writers Association (elected at age 49 in 2006), Tie Ning has long written about ordinary female protagonists who are often from rural backgrounds. From her 1982 story Oh, Xiangxue
, which won an Excellent Short Story award and featured a country girl as the protagonist, to signature works such as How Long is Forever
(1999, published in a Reader's Digest edition in 2010), which pits an innocent, traditional young woman against adverse conditions, and Da Yu Nv
(2000), a novel which depicts themes of love,...