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Dragon Springs Road: A Novel af Janie Chang
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Dragon Springs Road: A Novel (original 2017; udgave 2017)

af Janie Chang (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
22016124,229 (3.88)27
From the author of Three Souls comes a vividly imagined and haunting new novel set in early 20th century Shanghai-a story of friendship, heartbreak, and history that follows a young Eurasian orphan's search for her long-lost mother. That night I dreamed that I had wandered out to Dragon Springs Road all on my own, when a dreadful knowledge seized me that my mother had gone away never to return . . . In 1908, Jialing is only seven years old when she is abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate near Shanghai. Jialing is zazhong-Eurasian-and faces a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. Without her mother's protection, she can survive only if the estate's new owners, the Yang family, agree to take her in. Jialing finds allies in Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the haunted courtyard for centuries. But Jialing's life as the Yangs' bondservant changes unexpectedly when she befriends a young English girl who then mysteriously vanishes. Always hopeful of finding her long-lost mother, Jialing grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, guided by Fox and by her own strength of spirit, away from the shadows of her past. But she finds herself drawn into a murder at the periphery of political intrigue, a relationship that jeopardizes her friendship with Anjuin and a forbidden affair that brings danger to the man she loves.… (mere)
Medlem:Amelia_Smith
Titel:Dragon Springs Road: A Novel
Forfattere:Janie Chang (Forfatter)
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2017), 400 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

Værk information

Dragon Springs Road af Janie Chang (2017)

  1. 00
    The Fox Wife af Yangsze Choo (vancouverdeb)
    vancouverdeb: historical China, magical realism, fox spirits,
Ingen
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» Se også 27 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 17 (næste | vis alle)
Loved this. It’s a long and tangled story, starting when Jialing is 8yo and her mother leaves her, and finishes in her early 20s in the early 1920s China. The stories of hardship and despair are softened by friendship (AnJin and Anna), hope (the belief in her from Miss Morris at the missionary school) and especially by the presence of Fox.

Fox’s presence must smooth the way (influencing people) but she also tells Jialing stories about her life and about her travels, and about the door to the immortals. It was interesting to read the descriptions of Fox’s appearance - sometimes wholly human, sometimes mostly human with ‘tells’ of the fox within (the eyes, the nose or tongue). It was interesting to think about the difference between Jialing’s relationship with Leo San Moo (he is enchanted with her, thanks to Fox, and she is passive and accepting) and with Wan (independent of Fox, she has emotional and physical feelings for him).

I could not imagine how the twisted stories would unravel to a satisfying conclusion, but it did. Rescuing Ping Mei and Jialing seemed to have opened the door to the land of immortals, and Fox can finally run through (she is released from her promise to look after Jialing). Shay finally believe Jialing (about the Fox spirit world) and assists Ping Mei through the door - and he will finally be reunited with his daughter Anna.

Jialing chooses to stay in the world - so as not to watch human friends die - and escapes the compound on Dragon Springs Road. Shay and Ping Mei’s bodies are found in the burnt rubble - that closes the door on Shay’s investigation of Wan Bao Yen’s death (which was a secret that endangered Jialing) and Ping Mei was misidentified as Jialing - which freed her to start over with Wan in Harbin.

The only question - will she regret not telling Wan about her past? Confessing she was there when his cousin was killed? Isn’t that kind of a big deal, something that comes between them? ( )
  BeckiMarsh | Mar 27, 2023 |
The story is slow because it tackled too many themes when it needed only the one: the plight of so many Chinese and Eurasian girls/women in China who ended up as "prostitutes" or "mistresses" around the year 1900.

Having grown up in Hong Kong with Chinese and Eurasian friends, I was already familiar with much of the imagery, culture, and detailed depictions of Chinese gardens and food, as well as the taboo subject of the aforementioned Chinese/Eurasian mistress and sex-worker. These foreign or exotic elements may be enough to impress some Western readers, but when it's all very familiar, the absence of a good storyline becomes clear.

Yes, the imagery is well written and the food brought back some fond memories, but this isn't a cookbook, so I expected a good story.

This could have been a thought-provoking insight into the historical discrimination against Chinese/Eurasian girls and women of low financial status and/or mixed race, and the only options available to them: become a beggar in the street, a bonded (unpaid) servant, or find a wealthy man who is willing to be your patron. If you're lucky, you will become a kept woman, until "the novelty wears off" and you find yourself older and back to searching for another wealthy patron while pawning the jewellery that the previous one gifted you just to keep a roof over your head.

I wish the author had focused on that instead of muddying the waters with the addition of a slapdash mix of political thriller, crime thriller, last-minute romance, and badly used magical realism. Magical realism is one of my favourite genres, so it's disappointing when it's used as a convenient way to tie up loose ends because there is no logical way to do so.

Why the author bothered to mention the moment when a wife came face to face with her husband's mistress without exploring it any further is beyond me. And at least one entire chapter seems to be missing when a main character makes the transition from being an inexperienced "school girl" educated by nuns to being the mistress of a wealthy man, but the author does not write anything about this major turning point in the girl's life. One minute she's impoverished and on the verge of being homeless, and in the next, she's in a hotel room with her married patron and spends her days shopping for designer handbags. How did this come about? Poorly used magical realism. ( )
  Swift74 | Dec 1, 2022 |
Dragon Spring Road is a book that mixes two genres that I love; historical fiction and fantasy. I think adding the fantasy element of the Fox, an animal spirit to the story was a brilliant move. It gave the story something extra. Otherwise, we would have a traditional historical fiction tale, but now with the added mysticism, we get something a bit different.

The story of Jialing is a sad tale, she is left by her mother when she is a little girl and she is taking in by the family that moves in. However, she is not part of the family, she is a bondservant. But, she does grow up close to the daughter in the house. But, she also has a secret, Fox, an animal spirit that has lived in the courtyard is looking after her. And, she does need the extra help, it's not easy for a Eurasian child growing up in a world where everyone looks down at a mixed-race child.

Dragon Springs Road is a captivated story, I found Jialing story interesting, especially since it takes place in such a turbulent time in China. I did for a while think that the story spent a little too much time on Jialing as a child and the love story towards the end felt a bit rushed. Like the author realized that she had to add some happiness to Jialing by throwing in a man that she would love. I never felt that the romance part truly convinced me. However, it did find it made the ending sweet.

I think Dragon Springs Road is a good book. The story never dragged on, and I found myself taken with the ending when Jialing faced a hard decision. Her final thoughts at the end of the book are probably one of the reasons I ended giving the book 4-stars. It tipped the scale. That and that I love the fantasy elements of the story and reading about China is so fascinating.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Jul 23, 2022 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Combining Chinese culture and folklore, this novel is about a young Euroasian girl, Jialing, who has been abandoned by her mother. Jialing’s mother was the mistress of a wealthy landowner who fell on hard times and was forced to sell the family estate. She knew that she would probably be sold to a brothel, so she left her daughter behind under the magical protection of Fox hoping that her daughter would be taken in by the new estate owners. And that is what happened. From that point on Jialing served as a bond servant to the new owners, was given education by a missionary school and given guidance by Fox. Even though this book is filled with magical realism, it is not silly, but is a good story that touches on class, race, women’s issues, love and murder. ( )
  little-sparrow | Jul 14, 2017 |
The choices we make as women tend to affect others for generations to come. Our daughters and the women around them carry the burden. The plight of women often causes us to make decisions based on the events that happen around us.

Dragon Spring Road follows the life of an abandoned child.

The year is 1908 and Jialing, a Eurasian child who is abandoned at the age of 7, by her mother. She had lived a sheltered life within the courtyard walls as her mother protected her from any ridicule or prejudice she would have encountered because of her mixed race. She has never ventured out of the courtyard.

The estate where Jailing lives is sold while she continues to live within the walls unbeknownst to the Yang family. The oldest daughter, Anjuin, takes Jailing under her wing and the family takes her on as a bondservant. Jailing is given a great opportunity to go to a school for orphans and find the ridicule and prejudice even from the other children. Yet she finds friendship with others.

She continues through her life dreaming that her mother will come back to her. She find refuge with Fox, a haunting spirit of the estate. Fox protects Jailing and gives her comfort and experience with the world that is outside the estate.

The hope and faith that builds and carries this little girl into her adult life is beyond words. She overcomes many obstacles and gives into some others but she persists and moves forward. At times she lost hope and found it renewed in others around her.

I truly enjoyed the prevalence of strong women characters throughout the book. From the Matriarch of the Yang family to the nuns who taught Jailing at the school. Jailing sees this strength and strives to create her own. She strives for her own survival and self reliance.
Happy Reading and Enjoy the Ride! ( )
  reemsf | Jun 6, 2017 |
Viser 1-5 af 17 (næste | vis alle)
Like Chang’s first novel, Three Souls, this story has magical realism woven throughout in the form of a fox spirit who keeps Jialing safe and shows her what is possible in the world. The enthralling story includes gangsters, racism, corruption and more. It’s both a pleasure and an education to read this sensitive, intelligent novel.
 
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From the author of Three Souls comes a vividly imagined and haunting new novel set in early 20th century Shanghai-a story of friendship, heartbreak, and history that follows a young Eurasian orphan's search for her long-lost mother. That night I dreamed that I had wandered out to Dragon Springs Road all on my own, when a dreadful knowledge seized me that my mother had gone away never to return . . . In 1908, Jialing is only seven years old when she is abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate near Shanghai. Jialing is zazhong-Eurasian-and faces a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. Without her mother's protection, she can survive only if the estate's new owners, the Yang family, agree to take her in. Jialing finds allies in Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the haunted courtyard for centuries. But Jialing's life as the Yangs' bondservant changes unexpectedly when she befriends a young English girl who then mysteriously vanishes. Always hopeful of finding her long-lost mother, Jialing grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, guided by Fox and by her own strength of spirit, away from the shadows of her past. But she finds herself drawn into a murder at the periphery of political intrigue, a relationship that jeopardizes her friendship with Anjuin and a forbidden affair that brings danger to the man she loves.

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