My Half of the Sky

( 6 )

Overview

Jana McBurney-Lin's debut novel My Half of the Sky introduces Li Hui, a young Chinese woman of marriageable age who has recently graduated from the university. Li Hui struggles with finding love and acting with honor. Guidance and advice come from all corners of her world as well as different and conflicting generational, historical and cultural values. Each generation of modern China wants something different for and from her, particularly her parents, who mourn the lack of a son while attempting to marry her ...
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My Half of the Sky

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Overview

Jana McBurney-Lin's debut novel My Half of the Sky introduces Li Hui, a young Chinese woman of marriageable age who has recently graduated from the university. Li Hui struggles with finding love and acting with honor. Guidance and advice come from all corners of her world as well as different and conflicting generational, historical and cultural values. Each generation of modern China wants something different for and from her, particularly her parents, who mourn the lack of a son while attempting to marry her off to their greatest advantage. In fact most everyone has a selfish investment in what Li Hui will do and whom she might marry.

Further testing Li Hui's commitments, hopes and concerns are the words of Mao. He has said that "women hold up half the sky," meaning that women make an equal contribution to China. But how does Li Hui manifest the promise in these words when she is given so little room in which to maneuver? Can she be a modern Chinese woman? Can she also embrace romantic new notions of romance and marriage? Or will the dictates of her parents and the weighty responsibility she feels for them drive her to lose this opportunity?

Does this sound like Jane Austen writing about the dilemmas facing young women in China today? Are some of the characters Dickensian? You bet. This original and insightful work is in the best traditions of classic novels that explore people caught in the crucible of change in complex cultures. And the rewards are rich for the reader, including intriguing insights into folk tales and conventional wisdom of a culture of which few of us have an intimate and timely knowledge. It's one thing to see a national news broadcast feature on modern China and it's thriving young generation that looks so much to the United States for standards. It's quite another to eavesdrop on a character alive in the very moments of the globalization of China.

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Editorial Reviews

Mary Warpeha
McBurney-Lin tells a wonderfully entertaining story with the traditional coming-of-age theme (which is experienced universally)...weaving in the cultural challenges of growing up in China's rapidly changing social system.
Midwest Review
A lot is expected of a young Chinese girl. My Half of the Sky by Jana McBurney-Lin is the story of Li Hui, a young girl who has just achieved marriageable age... She must balance career, romance, and family, all to somehow make everyone happy, a tough endeavor indeed. An engaging and entertaining read from beginning to end, My Half of the Sky is a poignant tale of the modern Chinese woman, and recommended for community library collections.
Izabella Sluzek
It is a rare women’s novel that sensitively describes the life of a young educated woman in modern-day China in its full complexity, without resorting to unnecessary sentimentalism. Jana’s deep knowledge of the realities of life in China and Singapore makes the reading extra rewarding. In fact, with every new page the novel gets harder to put down and you find yourself gobbling it up before you know it.
Keri Holmes
I nominate My Half of the Sky by Jana McBurney-Lin as an August best pick. Though the culture in contemporary China is quite different from our own, family issues are universal. This is a powerful and moving coming-of-age story, and readers will cheer Li Hui on in hope that she finds her way as she attempts to "hold up her half of the sky" while being a respectful and dutiful daughter.
Jackie Houchin
Jana McBurney-Lin's debut novel, My Half of the Sky, is a masterpiece....From the first word to the last, the reader will be captivated by the way the author uses words and nuance and simplicity to create rich characters and setting so vivid it feels like you are watching a classic movie....My Half of the Sky is a hard book to put down, but you will force yourself to do so just to make the reading experience last longer. It's a story you'll want to savor one piece at a time,like fine chocolate.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780977208173
  • Publisher: Komenar Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Pages: 482
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jana McBurney-Lin lived half her adult life in Asia. (Japan/Singapore) While there, she wrote and edited fictional stories as well as non-fiction articles for magazines/journals/newspapers in seven countries. She was an editor at ALC Publishing in Tokyo when she met her husband, a native of southern China. One year, while in his village, she got the idea for her first novel, My Half of the Sky.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2007

    An Excellent Read

    With her first novel, Jana McBurney-Lin is nominated for a Pulitzer! Way to go! Li Hui is a university graduate with a teaching credential. She longs to be a dutiful daughter, support her parents, to hold up her half of the sky. Her father's gambling and scheming keep Li Hui from her dreams and ambitions. While corresponding with a prospective, rich husband in Singapore Li Hui finds love and friendship in unexpected places. This book has universal appeal to anyone who has wondered how culture shapes us, how to honor family and heritage when antiquated traditions hold us back. Jana McBurney-Lin has lived and worked in Asia and takes the reader on a heartfelt journey into a modern Chinese village filled with rich and vibrant characters and cultural insights that dictate those lives. An excellent read. I'm looking forward to next book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2006

    A Must Read!!

    Delightfully different. Well written, with inciteful details which elaborate Chinese culture in a a subtle but direct way. The story keeps one turning the pages. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes an absorbing story, with terrific cultural overtones.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2006

    My Half of the Sky - a treasure

    Jana McBurney-Lin¿s debut novel, My Half of the Sky, is a masterpiece and well worth the ten years it took her to write it. From the first word to the last of its 533 pages, the reader will be captivated by the way the author uses words and nuance and simplicity to create rich characters and settings so vivid it feels like you are watching a classic film. It is the story of Li Hui, a young village girl who manages to go to College with the dream of escaping the ordinary, only to find herself bound again to poverty, hopelessness, and the increasing debts of her gambling-addicted father. You¿ll weep with her at the unfairness of life, and you¿ll root for her when happiness, in the form of a young man in a blue shirt, fleetingly touches her life. China¿s late leader, Mao Ze Dong once said, ¿Women hold up half the sky,¿ but to Li Hui, it just wasn¿t so. Never could she see herself holding up even a sliver of sky. But as we follow her journey in these pages, we begin to see strengths she is blind to. And when her friend, Madam Paper Cutter, hands her an intricate cutting of a phoenix, we know in our hearts that Li Hui will one day fly. My Half of the Sky is a hard book to put down, but you will force yourself to do so, just to make the reading experience last longer. It¿s a story you¿ll want to savor one piece at a time, like eating fine chocolate, and it¿s one that you¿ll want to return to over and over. Jana McBurney-Lin¿s book was accepted into the pool of nominations for the Pulitzer Prize ¿ a well deserved designation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2006

    My Half of the Sky

    Jana McBurney-Lin has done a wonderful job showing the struggles and victories of Li Hui, a young woman who has been raised with rules and lessons completely at odds with the real life she faces. Li Hui's voice, her doubts and her certainties, seep into the reader, carrying them through the story. We root for Lu Hui's desire to understand and create her own reality, and we cheer for her when she succeeds. A wonderful read--highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2006

    A great read!

    It's terrific. I've had no sleep because I couldn't put it down! The back cover describes it as 'If Jane Austin were to write about women in modern China'. I highly recommend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

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