BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Lisa See's Shanghai Girls .
“I finally understand what the poets have written. In spring, moved to passion; in autumn only regret.”
For young Peony, betrothed to a suitor she has never met, these lyrics from The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, amid the scent of ginger, green tea, and jasmine, a small theatrical troupe is performing scenes from this epic opera, a live spectacle few females have ever seen. Like the heroine in the drama, Peony is the cloistered daughter of a wealthy family, trapped like a good-luck cricket in a bamboo-and-lacquer cage. Though raised to be obedient, Peony has dreams of her own.
Peony’s mother is against her daughter’ s attending the production: “Unmarried girls should not be seen in public.” But Peony’ s father assures his wife that proprieties will be maintained, and that the women will watch the opera from behind a screen. Yet through its cracks, Peony catches sight of an elegant, handsome man with hair as black as a cave–and is immediately overcome with emotion.
So begins Peony’s unforgettable journey of love and destiny, desire and sorrow–as Lisa See’s haunting new novel, based on actual historical events, takes readers back to seventeenth-century China, after the Manchus seize power and the Ming dynasty is crushed.
Steeped in traditions and ritual, this story brings to life another time and place–even the intricate realm of the afterworld, with its protocols, pathways, and stages of existence, a vividly imagined place where one’ s soul is divided into three, ancestors offer guidance, misdeeds are punished, and hungry ghosts wander the earth. Immersed in the richness and magic of the Chinese vision of the afterlife, transcending even death, Peony in Love explores, beautifully, the many manifestations of love. Ultimately, Lisa See’s new novel addresses universal themes: the bonds of friendship, the power of words, and the age-old desire of women to be heard.
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|Title of eBook: Peony in Love|
|Release Date: 06-26-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||Peony in Love|
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Peony in Love
Excerpt from Chapter 1- Riding the Wind
Two days before my sixteenth birthday, I woke up
so early that my maid was still asleep on the floor at the foot of
my bed. I should have scolded Willow, but I didn’t because I
wanted a few moments alone to savor my excitement. Beginning tonight,
I would attend a production of The Peony Pavilion mounted in our garden.
I loved this opera and had collected eleven of the thirteen printed versions
available. I liked to lie in bed and read of the maiden Liniang and her
dream lover, their adventures, and their ultimate triumph. But for three
nights, culminating on Double Seven–the seventh day of the seventh
month, the day of the lovers’ festival, and my birthday–I would actually
see the opera, which was normally forbidden to girls and women. My father
had invited other families for the festivities. We’d have contests and
banquets. It was going to be amazing.
Willow sat up and rubbed her eyes. When she saw me staring at her,
she scrambled to her feet and offered good wishes. I felt another flutter of
anticipation, so I was particular when Willow bathed me, helped me into
a gown of lavender silk, and brushed my hair. I wanted to look perfect; I
wanted to act perfectly.
A girl on the edge of sixteen knows how pretty she is, and as I looked
in the mirror I burned with the knowledge. My hair was black and silky.
When Willow brushed it, I felt the strokes from the top of my head all the
way down my back. My eyes were shaped like bamboo leaves; my brows
were like gentle brushstrokes limned by a calligrapher. My cheeks glowed
the pale pink of a peony petal