Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran
Stories of Loss and Love

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Synopsis

Following her internationally bestselling book The Good Women of China, Xinran has written one of the most powerful accounts of the lives of Chinese women. Her searing stories of mothers who have been driven to abandon their daughters or give them up for adoption is a masterful and significant work of literary reportage and oral history.

Xinran has gained entrance to the most pained, secret chambers in the hearts of Chinese mothers—students, successful businesswomen, midwives, peasants—who have given up their daughters. Whether as a consequence of the single-child policy, destructive age-old traditions, or hideous economic necessity, these women had to give up their daughters for adoption; others even had to watch as their baby daughters were taken away at birth and drowned. Xinran beautifully portrays the “extra-birth guerrillas” who travel the roads and the railways, evading the system, trying to hold on to more than one baby; naïve young girl students who have made life-wrecking mistakes; the “pebble mother” on the banks of the Yangzte River still looking into the depths for her stolen daughter; peasant women rejected by their families because they can’t produce a male heir; and Little Snow, the orphaned baby fostered by Xinran but confiscated by the state.

For parents of adopted Chinese children and for the children themselves, this is an indispensable, powerful, and intensely moving book. Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother is powered by love and by heartbreak and will stay with readers long after they have turned the final page.
 

About Xinran

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Xinran was born in Beijing in 1958. In 1997 she moved to London. This is her first book.
 
Published March 8, 2011 by Scribner. 274 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother

Kirkus Reviews

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A heartbreaking examination of the reasons why Chinese women give up their girls for adoption.

Feb 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Message from an Unknown Chine...

The New York Times

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A shocking account of family-planning attitudes and practices in China.

Apr 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Message from an Unknown Chine...

The Economist

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In previous works of oral history, she has rescued from the chaos that is modern Chinese record-keeping personal narratives of her grandparents' generation (“China Witness”, 2008) and of women caught in China's endless political turmoil (“The Good Women of China”, 2002).

Mar 04 2010 | Read Full Review of Message from an Unknown Chine...

Suite 101

Through compelling and heartfelt storytelling, Xinran gives insight into the lives of China's women and orphans in Message From an Unknown Chinese Mother.

| Read Full Review of Message from an Unknown Chine...

The Bookbag

There were and are a myriad of reasons why so many young Chinese girls found their way into families around the world and away from their birth mothers.

Jan 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Message from an Unknown Chine...

Metro

Non-fiction of the week: Message From An Unknown Chinese Mother, By Xinran (Chatto & Windus, £16.99).

Feb 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Message from an Unknown Chine...

Reader Rating for Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother
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