A successor to WILD SWANS. The most extraordinary, powerful, moving account of the intimate lives of women in modern China ever published.
For eight ground breaking years, Xinran presented a radio programme in China during which she invited women to call in and talk about themselves. Broadcast every evening, Words on the Night Breeze became famous throughout the country for its unflinching portrayal of what it meant to be a woman in modern China. Centuries of obedience to their fathers, husbands and sons, followed by years of fear under Communism had made women terrified of talking openly about their feelings. Xinran won their trust and, through her compassion and ability to listen, became the first woman to hear their true stories.
This unforgettable book is the story of how Xinran negotiated the minefield of restrictions imposed on Chinese journalists to reach out to women across the country. Through the vivid intimacy of her writing, the women's voices confide in the reader, sharing their deepest secrets for the first time. Whether they are the privileged wives of Party leaders or peasants in a forgotten corner of the countryside, they tell of almost inconceivable suffering: forced marriages, sexual abuse, separation of parents from their children, extreme poverty. But they also-talk about love -about how, despite cruelty, despite politics, the female urge to nurture and cherish remains. Their stories changed Xinran's understanding of China for ever. Her book will reveal the lives of Chinese women to the West as never before.