Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Binding Chair

(Apologies for neglecting this site for a long time......)

I came by this book in a strange way.  I was staying at my daughter's place, and beside the bed in the guest room is a bookshelf full of books - many of which I had read, but one stood out.  Those who know me, know that I often read historical novels and biographies of Chinese people, and this one was clearly a Chinese story.

I read a few lines, then spoke with my daughter.  "Did she mind if I borrowed it?" 

Her response surprised me.  "I think it is YOURS"

I declared that I had never seen it - so to this day it is a mystery - where did it come from?  Her daughter (13 years of age) is an avid reader, and she mentioned that she thought A would like to read it.  I declared that I would return it as soon as I read it.

The author Kathryn Harrison was not known to me - I set about to read.....    I learned very early that I would probably not give it to a 13 year old to read - some of the sex scenes were a little too much for such youth and even me.  I had no idea that the toe of a woman who had had her feet bound would be such an interesting sex tool!!!

It did take me a while to read it - busy life, moving, etc all got in the way, but I persisted and eventually got to the last page.  Phew!!!  It was indeed very well written, and again, as I usually do,  I learned much more about Chinese culture.

I did find it very confusing as the story jumped about a fair bit - and there were numerous characters involved.  Perhaps if I had been able to read it all in a short time I would not have felt so disconnected with it - but I did finish it.  I do think it would make a good movie - though it is a looong story and a film would have to cut much of it out.

I found this article - in fact a Reading Guide for the book - here.    Anyone interested in Chinese history or culture would find The Binding Chair a fascinating read.

I will look for her other books at some time, but have a huge pile of books to wade through at the moment.

In Melbourne recently I discovered the Book Grocer in Melbourne where books are $10 each or less. I tried to resist but found it impossible so added weight to my luggage with a pile of books, and have almost completed one.

I note that one can buy online from them too.  How exciting.

Kathryn Harrison has written a number of books - visit her website here to read about her and her work.  Website.

No comments:

Post a Comment