"I was dying to see Mother suffer at the sight of my corpse," announces the young woman at the heart of this powerful and disquieting novel, which has won acclaim in France and in Canada upon original publication in French. In Ingratitude,Ying Chen tells the story of Yan-Zi, who decides to commit suicide in order to escape the yoke of her dominating mother. The narrator's account of her final days recalls the chilling detachment of Camus's The Stranger.
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Perhaps one has to come from an intensely traditional society such as the one Chinese author Ying Chen describes in her third novel, Ingratitude, in order to fully empathize with the protagonist's desire to commit suicide solely to condemn her mother to a life of suffering: "I was burning with the desire to see Mother suffer at the sight of my corpse. Suffer to the point of vomiting up her own blood. An inconsolable pain." What, one wonders, has the mother done to deserve such a fate? Her worst sin, it appears, is to never have smiled at her daughter. Yan-Zi, the narrator of this slim volume, speaks to us from beyond the grave. As she witnesses her own funeral preparations and the grief of her family and friends, she looks back over the 25 years that she lived. A critical mother, a distant, unloving father--admittedly, Yan-Zi's childhood was not an especially happy one, but Ying Chen's minimal prose and sparse characterization make it difficult to see just what it was that drove this young woman to such extremes of hatred and revenge she would throw herself under a truck just to get back at her mother.
If Yan-Zi's motives for taking such drastic action remain murky, Ying Chen evokes the particulars of her life with laserlike precision. There are the boyfriends, Hong-qi, Chun, and Bi, the bitter relationship between Yan-Zi's mother and her grandmother, and just a subtle hint of the changing political climate in China: "Your father was such an alert man," Yan-Zi's mother says, discussing the car accident that destroyed her husband's mind; "Who knows whether this accident wasn't an attempted murder! You have to keep your eye on these kids, they're crazy today...." It may be that, in China, Yan-Zi's act of self-annihilation would be viewed as the purest form of rebellion against the traditional expectations placed on women in that country; to a Western reader, however, her complaint that "because of Mother, my life would always be flawed" comes off as adolescent whining. Ingratitude is an apt title for this novel, and one that invites several different interpretations.About the Author :
Ying Chen immigrated from Shanghai to Montreal in 1989. Ingratitude, her third novel, was nominated for the Governor General's Award and the Prix Fémina upon its publication in Canada in 1995.
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Description du livre University of California Press, 1999. Paperback. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire DADAX0520220137
Description du livre University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1998. Soft cover. État : New. First US Paper. "All her life, Yan-Zi has been dominated by her mother - who scolds her, corrects her behavior and manners.and ceaselessly reminds her that her very life is a debt she owes to others, especially her mother. So Yan-Zi decides to commit suicide in oorder to shake off the yoke of her mother's love." 153 pages. Published in Canada in 1995; translated from French by Carol Volk. N° de réf. du libraire 11326
Description du livre University of California Press, 1999. Paperback. État : New. book. N° de réf. du libraire 0520220137
Description du livre État : Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. N° de réf. du libraire 97805202201331.0
Description du livre University of California Press, 1999. Paperback. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire P110520220137
Description du livre University of California Press. PAPERBACK. État : New. 0520220137 New Condition. N° de réf. du libraire NEW6.3103633