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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Fiction I have ever Read (and a story).
Katherine by Anchee Min is a wonderful book. I was browsing through my local library, (where I used to work until not to long ago) and I stumbled upon it. I had read Red Azalea previously and when I saw Katherine (and Becoming Madame Mao) my heart started to race. (I had not come in to looking for other books by Anchee Min.) I also picked up Becoming Madame Mao and on my...
Published on June 1 2002 by teenlibrarian

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1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment after Red Azalea
Red Azalea is one of my favourite novels, and so I read Katherine with great anticipation. I was very disappointed--the story was weak, and the writing not as sharp as what I expected after the freshness of Red Azalea. I think it is common for writers to have difficulty with their "sophomore" book though, especially after such a smashing debut, as Min had with...
Published on Feb. 18 2003 by artemis


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1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment after Red Azalea, Feb. 18 2003
This review is from: Katherine (Paperback)
Red Azalea is one of my favourite novels, and so I read Katherine with great anticipation. I was very disappointed--the story was weak, and the writing not as sharp as what I expected after the freshness of Red Azalea. I think it is common for writers to have difficulty with their "sophomore" book though, especially after such a smashing debut, as Min had with Red Azalea. Happily Becoming Madame Mao was very good, and I am looking forward to reading Wild Ginger.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Fiction I have ever Read (and a story)., June 1 2002
By 
"teenlibrarian" (Minnesota, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Katherine (Paperback)
Katherine by Anchee Min is a wonderful book. I was browsing through my local library, (where I used to work until not to long ago) and I stumbled upon it. I had read Red Azalea previously and when I saw Katherine (and Becoming Madame Mao) my heart started to race. (I had not come in to looking for other books by Anchee Min.) I also picked up Becoming Madame Mao and on my way out in the new books display guess what I found? Wild Ginger.
God bless Anchee Min. She brings to America what we had long expected, the true horrors of Red China. Her characters evoke their emotions to an amazing extent (I am talking about Jasmine and Lion Head specifically in Katherine). She is truly an excellent writer.
Well, now I have all of the books she has ever written (I own Red Azalea). I can't wait for what she will come up with next.
...Thanks very much and I hope you enjoyed these wonderful books as much as I! Look for a biography review coming next from me
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5.0 out of 5 stars True friendship, April 28 2002
By 
Amy (Silver Spring, MD) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Katherine (Paperback)
This is a riveting story of how two women overcome cultural differences to build a true friendship. Although Zebra and Katherine were from two different worlds, in the end they found that they had much in common- as Katherine herself said, "I am an American, but I'm a human being first." This novel reads like an autobiography- although I know it is not, I hope it is "true," since although I have traveled extensively, I have never been to China, and I am counting on it as an accurate source about understanding Chinese culture and people.
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5.0 out of 5 stars New Perspective, July 29 2001
By 
Gerald Cheung (Hong Kong, China) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Katherine (Paperback)
I, as a person living in the unique city of Hong Kong, have only seen China and its interaction with the western world from afar. Anchee Min's Katherine offers us a close-up of such things as individuals fighting against collective interests and foreigners trying to open up this giant piece of land and culture that we have long been hearing and reading about, yet not thinking and feeling about, even as Chinese myself. The courage that both Zebra and Katherine exhibit in suspecting, confronting and accepting each other's culture enables a true union of the Chinese way and the American way, thus the East and the West. I don't see Zebra's final leaving of China as a victory of the West over the East, because her departure is motivated by her desire to seek her true self, which is lost in the Communist China. Communist China, or Mao China, is not the true China after all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Judge a Book by its Cover, April 27 2001
This review is from: Katherine (Paperback)
Our English professor at Hofstra University asigned the class to read the novel Katherine by Anchee Min. The title was to simple and it did not appeal to us, but after several reading assignments, we fell in love with the characters.The novel takes place in Shanghai,China. Min's novel deals with the concepts of pain, betrayal and new beginings. It depicts the lives of chinese men and women during the post-cultural revolution.Through vivid and descriptive images a reader can easily become lost in the street of China. We come to understand the hardships of women in China through the eyes of Zebra Wong. Gender oppression, arrranged marriages,abortion and adoption are examples of the hardships which are protayed throughout the novel. Katherine, an American english teacher, goes to China to record her findings on chinese women and to teach an English class. She has a great impact on her students especially Zebra. Katherine imposes her veiw on how the chinese government has brainwashed their people to believe that their opions do not matter.Katherine develops personal relationships with her students that some might veiw as inappropriate. Katherine has a significant impact on Zebra, her way of thinking has made a complete 360 degree turn.During this time, oppossal of government lead to being sent to labor camps and even death. Zebra is constantly out in the situation of chosing the government or Katherine friendship. This book hit home with a lot of current matters that we see on a day to day base. It help people realize that human being are the same all accross the globe. We highly recommend this book for histrorical fact and for pure enjoyment. At first look this book may not seem interesting but we guarantee you pick up the book and you will not let it downuntil you are done.
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4.0 out of 5 stars K Nimmo's evaluation, April 19 2001
This review is from: Katherine (Paperback)
The book Katherine was a very interesting read, it was very reminiscent of Helen Keller. The story of a very fascinating women living in post-mao China was very interesting. The main character Zebra was the symbol of everything that made up China at that time. Women were not allowed to speak their minds or act out their true feelings. But when Katherine enters her world Zebra's life changes. Katherines westernized views began to change Zebra, for the worst or better whatever way you see it.Zebra begins to realize things about herself with Katherine as well as with a character named Lion Head, a man Zebra feel in love with in the book and then in turn had her heart broken by him. The experience you get from reading Katherine is very good, but I see it as more of a story about a woman realizing her place in life, more then I see it as a story about post-mao China.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 2W3 Group B Review (Erica, Michelle, Jackie, Melissa, Mike), April 18 2001
By 
Sylent Bobb (Hempstead, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Katherine (Paperback)
As college students, we feel Anche Mins novel Katherine is a suspenseful and powerful novel. It is an easy novel to read, because you can put yourself in the characters place. By reading the novel you will be able to get a better understanding of China and their Communist ways. The novel takes place in Shanghai, China 1982. Mao has died and the Cultural Revolution was declared over. Katherine deals with many different issues of life, such as betrayal, friendship, love, politics, and infatuation. Katherine, an American teacher, helps Zebra Wong on her path to self discovery, by showing her what friendship, love, and betrayal is. She helps her to rediscover her innocence and sensitivity that she lost as a result of being brought up as one of Mao's children. The complex relationsips and situtations that also unfold in this book is absolutly riviting. It keeps the reader on the edge of their seat not knowing what to expect next.
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4.0 out of 5 stars How Students can relate to this book, April 13 2001
By 
Lauren, Tom, Lisa, Marielle (Long Island, Hofstra University, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Katherine (Paperback)
Being college students and having read Anchee Min's Katherine was a great experience because we all related to the novel. The novel takes place in Shangai China after the Mao-revolution. Katherine, an American teacher comes to China to research its communist government for a book she hopes to write in the near future. She uses the time she spends in China to open up the narrow minds of her Chinese students. Katherine develops a close relationship with one of her students, Zebra Wong. Once she enlightens Zebra with her "free spirit," Zebra undergoes a series of changes, and develops a strong infatuation with Katherine. We love the way the book approaches the relationship between Katherine and Zebra because it is not 100 percent pure. Everyone can relate to the fact that sometimes friendships and relationships have their ups and downs. However, it all depends on how we deal with the situation. In this novel, Zebra and Katherine show us how through betrayals and lies, a true friendship can overcome its hardship and two people show how they really need and depend on one another. The prose is easy for college students to understand and to relate to. It made it easy to follow the characters lives as well as learn about historical facts in China. Students today can most definitely relate to the social relationships and love triangles in this novel. They can also relate to feelings at times of low self-esteem and embarrassment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Zebra as a Character in Katherine., April 11 2001
This review is from: Katherine (Paperback)
After a period of a month I finished reading Katherine for an English class at Hofstra University. Katherine, a novel by Anchee Min, seemed interesting but I never heard of her before. The novel turned out to be an extremley powerful and inspirational experience. Katherine was narrated by a chinese woman named Zebra.Zebra's character was very dark and disturbed in the beggining of the novel. Zebra had suffered from her misfortune in China her entire life. Her saga is considered very tragic until she meets Katherine and finds the hope and inspiration she needs to be happy.I appreciated Zebra's character the most because I envied her strength and honor, as a person in a desperate situation. Zebra had contact with a few other characters besides katherine. There were sexual relations and verbal companionships but all this faded as the novel came to a conclusion. I feel as if Anchee Min was trying to support the idea that one's friends might not be friends at all. Perhaps on the outside they appear to be friends but a true friend has to earn the proper respect. Friendship and respect cannot be bought and definitley not demanded.It must be seen through action and a caring set of eyes. Katherine and zebra were special because they understood each others differences and learned from one another. Even though each came from a different society, they shared the same emotions at times. Through their interactions we can see how eastern and western civilizations contradict each other, and how strangers from these worlds unite as friends. When Zebra met Katherine her search for a relationship came to a hault. Even though Katherine is not a man, the love she possess toward Zebra is irreplaceable. Certain parts of the novel, such as descriptions of natuaral settings, are written perfectly by Anchee Min. Through Zebra's thoughts the reader can understand what China is like, and how the beauty of it's nature is contradicted by seemingly corrupt politics and government. "After a while I wouldn't hear a thing. The crowd would flow past my eyes like a silent film. Then I would flow with them feeling weightless, in a washed out light".(Katherine p.6) Zebra's character and this passage represent her as being insignificant in Shanghai, China. I accept her struggle for survival and against lonliness as being sad and tragic, which makes her more powerful and inspirational to me as a reader. Anchee min intended for a close relationship between the reader and Zebra. Min's work is crafted with a skill from the heart and it's evident through out the piece.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Overall Perspective of Katherine, April 4 2001
By 
Damien, Peter, Kristine (Long Island, New York USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Katherine (Mass Market Paperback)
As students at the University of Hofstra, we read Katherine, written by Anchee Min. This novel was about an American teacher that came to China to teach English to Chinese students after the Cultural Revolution. Katherine brought her American ideology to China, where it was not accepted. This novel consisted of many themes; betrayal, friendship, romance and innocence. Lion Head represents the theme of betrayal, he has an affair with both Katherine and Zebra Wong and doesn't stay with either one of them, he just sleeps with them. This also fits under the category of Romance. Katherine and Zebra represented the theme of friendship. They relied on each other when times got rough. Little Rabbit, Katherine's adopted daughter represented innocence because she was mute and this is how the Chinese government wanted the people to be. We think Katherine is a good book to be read as college freshmen because its not a hard book to read and understand, and it is interesting. It also gives you an understanding on how life is in other places in the world. The only disappointment about the book was the ending, we though it could have been better by adding more about what happens after Zebra and Little Rabbit leave China.
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Katherine
Katherine by Anchee Min (Paperback - May 3 2002)
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