Lotus by Lijia Zhang
A Novel

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Lotus is undeniably earthy but thankfully spare, letting its characters, and its proverbs, do the talking.
-NPR

Synopsis

Inspired by the secret life of the author's grandmother, Lotus follows a young woman as she defies her fate and escapes to the city and all it holds for her―be it love, danger, or destiny.

Surviving by her wits alone, Lotus charges headlong into the neon lights of Shenzhen, determined to pull herself out of the gutter and decide her own path. She’s different than the other streetwalkers―reserved, even defiant, Lotus holds her secrets behind her red smile.

The new millennium should’ve brought her better luck, but for now she leads a double life, wiring the money home to her family and claiming she earns her wages waiting tables. Her striking eyes catch the attention of many, but Lotus weighs her options between becoming the concubine of a savvy migrant worker or a professional girlfriend to a rich and powerful playboy. Or she may choose the kind and decent Hu Binbing, a photojournalist reporting on China’s underground sex trade―who has a hidden past of his own. She knows that fortunes can shift with the toss of a coin and, in the end, she may make a choice that leads her on a different journey entirely.

Written with compassion and vivid prose, Lotus was inspired by the deathbed revelation that the author’s grandmother had been sold to a brothel in her youth. With compelling insight, Lijia Zhang reveals the surprising strength found in those confronted with impossible choices.

 

About Lijia Zhang

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Lijia Zhang was born and raised in Nanjing. Her articles have appeared in many international publications, including South China Morning Post, Japan Times, the Independent (London), Washington Times, and Newsweek. She is a regular speaker on BBC Radio and NPR. She now lives in Beijing with her two daughters.www.lijiazhang.com
 
Published January 10, 2017 by Henry Holt and Co.. 384 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Lotus
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on Aug 22 2016

While the sex industry setting is nominally racy, there is a naïve, simplistic quality to the story and the prose. A Book of Little Depth May Still Find Some Readers.

Read Full Review of Lotus: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Jun 23 2017

...explores the daily life and inner world of Lotus, a young prostitute living in the city of Shenzhen...Though Lotus’s story is compelling, the stilted prose often proves distracting.

Read Full Review of Lotus: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Jean Zimmerman on Jan 11 2017

Lotus is undeniably earthy but thankfully spare, letting its characters, and its proverbs, do the talking.

Read Full Review of Lotus: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by PATRICIA L. HAGEN on Jan 06 2017

...a familiar one, the novel’s texture, setting and thought patterns seem specifically Chinese. While “Lotus” sometimes reads as if it were translated from Chinese (it is not), that is part of its charm, anchoring us in a world outside American experience.

Read Full Review of Lotus: A Novel | See more reviews from Star Tribune

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