Feathered Serpent: Book summary and reviews of Feathered Serpent by Xu Xiaobin

Feathered Serpent

by Xu Xiaobin

Feathered Serpent by Xu Xiaobin X
Feathered Serpent by Xu Xiaobin
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Book Summary

This beautifully portrayed epic family history spans one hundred years, from the 1890s during the later stages of the Qing Dynasty to the 1990s, traversing the experiences of five generations of women.

Yu is the central character, whose life story is woven through the lives of her grandmother, mother, sisters, and niece. She loves her parents but at a tender age realizes they do not love her. After committing two unforgivable sins, she is sent away to live in the city but is soon abandoned. Yu's life becomes a quest for love; she is fragile but resilient, lonely but determined. Now, in the 1980s, Yu becomes caught up in the political storm and comes close to love but falls short. Her last chance at getting what she desires will ultimately come at a tragic cost.

A political satirist in the guise of a mystical writer, Xu Xiaobin masterfully creates an atmosphere where distinctions are blurred; memories of the past and present are intertwined; realities and illusions are fused without a clear trace; and events occur in unspecified places but tinted with fairylike imaginations.

Xu Xiaobin is a rare talent with a vast knowledge of history, religion, and culture, and occupies a unique place in modern Chinese literature. When Feathered Serpent won China's inaugural Creative Writing Award for women's literary fiction, it was described as "a breakthrough, a record-setting novel in China's women's literature" and "the best fiction at the end of the century in China."

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A Chinese version of One Hundred Years of Solitude." - Li Yonghong, Contemporary Literature Scene.

"Feathered Serpent may be viewed as a twenty first-century Chinese version of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment." - Chen Fumin, Literature Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"Xu Xiaobin's mysterious and meditative writing goes much further. Her apparent desire is to emphasize that which is unknown and unknowable in the human heart, in the character's destiny, and in the civilization he or she inhabits." - Jin Siyan, Chinese author.

"A unique book worth a patient reading and understanding; its richness, its depth, and its beauty all demonstrate that Chinese contemporary women's literary writing has arrived at a high level." - Chen Xiaoming, a top critic and professor of Chinese literature at Peking University.

This information about Feathered Serpent was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Xu Xiaobin

Xu Xiaobin was born in 1953 in Beijing. She spent nine years in the countryside and at a factory during the Cultural Revolution, until 1978 when she entered the Central University of Finance and Economics. She began publishing her work in 1981 and is currently a staff screenplay writer at China's Television Production Center. She has published many award-winning pieces of fiction, novellas, and collections of prose, and has given lectures on Chinese women's literature at writers' conferences in the United States, Canada, and around the world. Feathered Serpent is now being published in several countries.

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