Tapping into people's fascination with what is going on in modern China, Xinran (author of the bestselling The Good Women of China) has written a delightfully warm and fascinating tale of three peasant girls trying to get to grips with life in the big city.
From the author of the bestselling The Good Women of China comes the uplifting story of three sisters who, like so many migrant workers in today’s China, leave their peasant community to seek their fortune in the big city.
The Li sisters don’t have much education, but one thing has been drummed into them: their mother is a failure because she hasn’t managed to produce a son, and they themselves only merit a number as a name. Women, their father tells them, are like chopsticks: utilitarian and easily broken. Men, on the other hand, are the strong rafters that hold up the roof of a house. Yet when circumstances lead the sisters to seek work in distant Nanjing, the shocking new urban environment opens their eyes. While Three contributes to the success of a small fast-food restaurant, Five and Six learn new talents at a health spa and a bookshop/tearoom. And when the money they earn starts arriving back at the village, their father is forced to recognise that daughters are not so dispensable after all.
Xinran has become known for her wonderful ability to take readers to the heart of Chinese society. In this new book she tells not only a human story, but the story of a city. As the Li sisters discover Nanjing, so do we: its past, its customs and culture, and its future as a place where people can change their lives.
Praise for Miss Chopsticks
Respect for honour and tradition, wicked humour and a vital social message combine in an appealing yet sometimes shocking readGuardian
The story remains engrossing, and when Xinran turns her attention to the frenetic streets and history of Nanjing, her own beloved hometown, the prose truly comes to lifeDaily Mail
This mood of hope, as both inspiring and ultimately attainable, is what makes Miss Chopsticks such an uplifting readFinancial Times
Xinran's skill lies in investigating the universal human thoughts and emotions behind the girls' naivetyObserver