The Concubine's Daughter: A Hong Kong Story
AuthorHouse, 2003 - 344 strán (strany)
The Concubine's Daughter is a snapshot of a bygone era, depicting life in the British colony of Hong Kong in the fifties and sixties. It is the story Elizabeth Lee, beautiful, intelligent, and liberated, from the time she is a wide-eyed eighteen year-old studying English Literature at the University of Hong Kong, sharing girlish secrets with her two best friends, to her becoming an academic at the University, to just after her thirtieth birthday, when she leaves Hong Kong with her husband and young son for the US, frightened in part by the riots inspired by the Cultural Revolution taking place across the border in mainland China. After twenty years in the US she returns to Hong Kong in 1986, just ten years before China is to regain sovereignty over the colony.
Educated in English Elizabeth is keenly aware of the conflict within herself between her love of certain aspects of Western culture and her Chinese heritage. Living in that period of the colony's history, and largely divorced from the cultural life of the Chinese mainland, she is conscious of a sense of isolation. Discriminatory attitudes and actions, whether based on gender, race, or language, are very much a fact of life in Hong Kong during this period.
The subject matter is original. The narrative style is witty, mildly sarcastic, and humorous in places. The vivid depiction of social customs and manners and memorable characters from different strata of society contribute to make The Concubine's Daughter a book well worth reading.