Historical Fiction

Books like Shanghai Girls

Shanghai Girls

2009, Lisa See


Shanghai Girls is a 2009 novel by Lisa See. It centers on the complex relationship between two sisters, Pearl and May, as they go through great pain and suffering in leaving war-torn Shanghai, and try to adjust to the difficult roles of wives in arranged marriages and of Chinese immigrants to the U.S. This work marks a return to many of the themes the author addressed in her first major work, On Gold Mountain, a memoir of her family's history. The novel is set between 1937–57 and matches Parts IV and V of the memoir.

The novel received an Honorable Mention from the Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature. The sequel, Dreams of Joy, was released May 31, 2011.

Shanghai Girls is divided into three parts: Fate, Fortune, and Destiny. Here See treats Chinese immigration from a personal view through Pearl's narration. In On Gold Mountain she objectively placed 100 years of her Chinese family history in the context of the daunting challenges Chinese immigrants faced in coming to America in search of Gold Mountain. America's mistreatment of Chinese immigrants is stressed in both memoir and novel.

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If you like Shanghai Girls, you might also like: Blessings, Peony in Love, and The Memory Keeper's Daughter