Good thing about being a blogger is that I can write about many things. Few months ago I made a review of ‘Good Chinese Wife’ by Susan Blumberg-Kason and after that I’ve been asked once again to give my opinion about the book. I have to say it’s an honor to me that someone has seen a potential in me so I want to thank so much for an opportunity to review ‘Tiger tail soup’ by Nicki Chen – lovely AMWF writer.
Even though ‘Tiger tail soup’ is a work of fiction, the story was inspired by her deceased husband – his early childhood on Kulangsu and the fact that he introduced her to Chinese culture. I have to say that you can see his influence in the book: Nicole writing shows how familiar she is with Chinese language and customs. Somebody might say that talking about ‘amah’ etc. might be confusing to someone has no knowledge about Asia, but I think it’s a great chance to learn something new and that’s never a bad thing.
Anyway, the story of ‘Tiger tail soup’ is set in China in years 1938-1946 which is the time of Second Sino-Japanese war. When the first bombs fall, the main character An Lee is pregnant and her husband is missing so it’s up to An Lee to protect her ‘whole family which includes mother, mother-in-law, young daughter, and soon-to-be-born son. Surrounded by the Japanese military, An Lee struggles to survive, enduring hunger, loneliness, and fear. Then, on December 7, 1941, the enemy invades and occupies their little island on the coast of China, and An Lee’s strength is put to the test.
First great thing about the book is the interesting and intense story. Second thing is the language Nicole uses. Her writing is made of elegant language, very detailed, focused on describing places and feelings. You can see it with your own eyes, you can feel the emotions running through your body. I simply love her narration, through the person of An Lee I can feel fear, I can feel hunger, I can feel the pain.
I also love the character development and the way An Lee is – we see a woman caught up in war, an ordinary innocent person who had to face the unknown future. Someone who had to be strong for her family and handle everything. I’m so glad to read about person so strong.
Besides being a really interesting book I can relate to the emotions shown in the book since my husband’s outside grandparents were young people during the occupation of Shanghai by Japanese. My husband told me some of his grandfather’s stories how he was surviving that tough time and I guess everyone can somehow relate to the feelings and situations shown in the ‘Tiger tail soup’. World War II was not so long ago, we can still hear the real stories and memories of people who have been there,we might even have them in our own family, including my great-grandmother and I think that’s another reason why this book is good to read for everyone.
I wanted to make a nice conclusion at the end but I think Nicki made the best one: at the front page of the book she left a message ‘In honor of strong women everywhere‘. I think it’s a great piece of writing for everyone.
You can order this book e in paperback and as an ebook from Amazon, Barnes And Noble or you can try out your local bookstores . And for more visit Nicki’s personal site: http://nickichenwrites.com/
About the author
Hi, I’m Nicki Chen, a fiction writer living in Edmonds, WA, a lovely little town on Puget Sound only a ferry ride away from the Olympic Peninsula.
My novels, which travel back in history and across the ocean, were inspired by places I’ve been and people I’ve known. The stories behind those stories are the main topics of this blog.
I grew up in Sedro-Woolley, WA, a child who loved fairy tales and art and swimming, a teenager who liked boys and dancing. At Seattle University, I studied theology, philosophy and elementary education. My kindergarten students were adorable. My 9th-grade Spanish students were sweet in a teenage sort of way. Soon my husband and I had our own children (3 daughters in 4 years). Then we moved to the Philippines where we stayed for the next 15 years.
Being an expat wife meant ladies’ club activities and school board service, painting and batik-ing, dinner parties and beach trips. I almost finished an MBA. Then I got serious and signed up for an MFA in Creative Writing through Vermont College. We were living in the South Pacific by the time I completed it.
After my husband’s death, I started work on my first novel, Tiger Tail Soup, a historical novel that tells the story of a Chinese woman struggling to survive the Japanese invasion of her homeland. Currently I’m working on a second novel, this one about a woman who in her eagerness to follow the advice of a fertility doctor, convinces her husband to move to a small island in the South Pacific.
So what do you think guys? Would you like to read ‘Tiger tail soup’? Or maybe you know someone who would be interested in it? Share your thoughts about it!
PS Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube because BIG NEWS ARE COMING NEXT WEEK! I’M SO EXCITED TO TELL YOU!