Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
Published April 6, 2013
Summary on Goodreads

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Review:
This book was fantastic – the imagery and vividness of the spiritual world was amazing.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I definitely enjoyed the supernatural aspect in a different culture.  Most of the books I read are based on western superstition but this one was completely founded on Chinese afterlife and I found it fascinating.  Being Asian myself but was born and raised in the US, I don’t have too much knowledge on the whole funeral aspect of Chinese or any sort of Asian culture.  Plus my parents were both from Christian families and I was also raised as such so those sacrifices and offerings were pretty much foreign information to me which is why I found this whole book quite absorbing.  There was definitely a mesmerizing aspect to it that really sucked me in and I found myself deeply entrenched with Li Lan and her current situation.

Li Lan was a mix of personality – there were times when she seemed headstrong and then other times when she seemed weak and confused.  So I’m a bit on the fence in terms of liking her or not.  However, there was one thing that stayed true for her: her love for her family especially her Amah (nanny/nurse).  There wasn’t anything really that she wouldn’t do for them.  So I definitely respected her for that.  But she was also careless, reckless and too trusting especially for situations where she didn’t have any information on so it just drew in further trouble for herself at the end.  There were certainly a lot of times where the only person she could blame was herself for getting into a mess so I wasn’t particularly fond of that trait. 

The most fascinating aspect was definitely the shadowy parallel spiritual world. There were so many aspects to it that were quite enticing and mysterious such as the whole paper money and the food offerings.  I recognized some of the ceremonial proceedings but it was interesting to find out so much more.  The author certainly did her research and I really enjoyed reading about the marriage cultures too.  The whole part of the “second wife” and “third wife” and even the concubines were intriguing.  And it was most curious to see how everything translated into the spiritual world. 

Since I had “read” this book via an audiobook, I was actually quite confused when I kept hearing British accents until I realized that Malaysia was actually ruled by the British during this time period so that was also a fascinating tidbit that I didn’t know before.  Even though this book is fictional, I felt that I learned a lot about the Chinese-Malaysian culture as well as some history.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  I also liked Er Lang and was rooting for him at the end.  He was certainly an unique character, to say the least.  I would definitely recommend this book for everyone.
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