The World of Chinese



This historical fiction by Alice Poon draws from three real-life courtesans who lived in Nanjing in the 17th century: Liu Rushi, an accomplish­ed poet; Chen Yuanyuan, whose unmatched beauty was blamed for indirectly causing the fall of the Ming dynasty; and Li Xiangjun, a talented musician who dared to fight oppression. Though they are not known to have met in history, Poon portrays the three women as close friends. The story unfolds from the viewpoint of Liu’s daughter Jingjing, who pieces together the story of the sisterhood of three independen­t-thinking women through her mother’s diaries.

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