Ties That Bind, Ties That Break

Lensey Namioka, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $15.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-385-32666-7
A gifted interpreter of Chinese and Chinese-American culture, Namioka (Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear) sets this gripping historical novel in early-20th-century Nanjing, as Western influence and political revolution threaten tradition. The irrepressible third daughter in a wealthy upper-class family, four-year-old Ailin resists having her feet bound and her progressive father concedes, over the protests of her grandmother and mother. This decision leaves Ailin without a clear future, as the family her parents have arranged for her to marry into breaks off the engagement (""She can always become an acrobat and street entertainer,"" her mother says despairingly). Still flying against convention, Ailin's father later sends her to a missionary school run by foreign ""Big Noses,"" where she learns English and other subjects her grandmother dismisses as ""useless."" But when her father dies, the new head of the family--Ailin's volatile uncle--stops Ailin's education and offers her the only three choices suitable for a woman with unbound feet: becoming a nun, a concubine or a farmer's wife. Ailin creates her own destiny through events that are as dramatic as they are credible. Namioka weaves in just enough political history to help readers understand the turbulent climate, and her writing is so atmospheric and closely informed that it appears to offer an insider's perspective on a vanished way of life. Narrated by Ailin in flashback, this colorful novel has the force and intensity of a memoir. Ages 12-up. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1999
Release date: 05/01/1999
Paperback - 154 pages - 978-0-14-131715-1
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-19747-2
Open Ebook - 80 pages - 978-0-307-43406-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 160 pages - 978-0-440-41599-2
Hardcover - 184 pages - 978-0-7862-5922-9
Prebound-Sewn - 154 pages - 978-0-7569-0344-2
Prebound-Other - 154 pages - 978-0-613-28377-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-62460-222-1
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