Romance set in 1950s Singapore.
It's a supposedly shocking storywith its revelation that slavery was still practiced in 1950s Singaporebut, in fact, the shock is muted in a tale that has little modern resonance: Except for brief mentions of automobiles, the setting could be any time in Chinese history. The lack of concrete detail, the character's cozy chats with gods, and the prophetic dreams punctuating the narrative also make it seem more a sentimental melodrama than a searing indictment of hidden viciousness. When Han turns four, her hard- pressed pregnant mother sells her to the rich House of Wu. Han is to be a bondmaid, one of the enslaved women who clean and who must endure the lascivious attentions of visiting priests as well as male family members. Little Han is so upset by the sale that she becomes extremely ill, or, as the household sees it, possessed by demons that have to exorcised. When she recovers, she attaches herself to young Master Wu, the six-year-old grandson of the Matriarch and Patriarch. The children become friends and secret playmates. Meanwhile, the older bondmaids, jealous of Han's emerging beauty and spirit, plot her downfall. Finally, young Wu goes away to school, coming back only to marry the daughter of the House of Chang. Han, though, has never forgotten him. Eventually, the two become lovers, but when they're discovered, Han, now pregnant, is forced to leave. She gives birth to a son, who's taken from her and replaced with the baby girl Wu's wife has just borne. As storm clouds gather, Wu embraces the dying Han; following her death, the narrative suggests, she becomes a goddess, one who "always saw and heard with compassion"except in matters concerning the Wu and Chang Houses.
Pulp fiction with an exotic gloss.
- Cavendish, Marshall Corporation
- Publication date:
- Age Range:
- 9 Years
Meet the Author
Frequently referred to as the doyenne of Singapore's literary circles, Catherine Lim is internationally recognised as one of the leading figures in the world of Asian fiction. The prolific Lim has penned more than 19 books across various genres short stories, novels, reflective prose, poems and satirical pieces. Lim has won several national and regional book prizes for her literary contributions and was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Literature by Murdoch University, Australia and a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture and Information. Many of Lim s works are studied in local and foreign schools and universities and have been published in various languages in several countries. Besides writing, Lim guest lectures at local and international seminars, conferences, arts/writing festivals and cruise ships worldwide. She has also appeared on radio and television programmes in Singapore, Europe and Australia.
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catherine lim's the bondmaid is an exceptional book. u should read it!