Woman Warrior

The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts

By Maxine Hong Kingston

This novel is a series of five stories/myths/legends by a Chinese-American woman who grew up in Northern California. A fellow graduate student described this book as follows: we learn about our narrator’s reality through the use of myth.--- Exactly.

The book begins with the story of “No Name Woman”- the narrator’s paternal aunt who committed suicide after becoming pregnant out of wedlock. So shamed for her indiscretion, the family not only disowns her, but pretend that she doesn’t exist- once she drowned herself and her baby in the well, the family never mentions her name or existence ever again. Though given no other detail, we learn from the narrator’s interpretation of this woman and her scandal, so much about the woman who is guiding us on this literary adventure and how she views herself and the world around her.

Each chapter is a different story, a different myth that all function together to convey something truly extraordinary.

Yes, I said extraordinary.

I was dazzled, entranced, horrified, disgusted, educated, touched…

The experience of this novel, as well as the intricacies of the narrative and style, is so difficult to describe.

It is poetry, prose, and prose poetry simultaneously. It is fiction, memoir, autobiography, and culture simultaneously.

Basically…. This book is really and truly lovely and definitely worth your time.

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