Review: Peach Blossom Pavilion by Mingmei Yip


Peach Blossom Pavilion
Mingmei Yip
Kensington June 1, 2008 
Pages 421
ISBN13: 9780758220141

GoodreadsAmazonIndieboundPowell’s Books

Recommendation: 2/5

From Goodreads:
When Precious Orchid’s father is falsely accused of a crime and found guilty, he is executed, leaving his family a legacy of dishonour. Her mother’s only option is to enter a Buddhist nunnery, so she gives her daughter over to the care of her sister in Shanghai.

At first, life at Peach Blossom Pavilion feels like a dream. Surrounded by exotic flowers, murmuring fountains, colourful fishponds, and bamboo groves, Precious Orchid sees herself thriving. She is schooled in music, literature, painting, calligraphy, and to her innocent surprise, the art of pleasuring men.

For the beautiful Pavilion hides its darker purpose as an elite house of prostitution. And even as she commands the devotion of China’s most powerful men, Precious Orchid never gives up on her dream to escape the Pavilion, be reunited with her mother, avenge her father’s death, and find true love. And as the richest, most celebrated Ming Ji or “prestigious courtesan” in all of China, she just might have her way even if it comes with a devastating price…

Sweeping in scope and stunning in its evocation of China, “Peach Blossom Pavilion” is a remarkable novel with an unforgettable heroine at the heart of its powerful story…


My Thoughts
The writing killed this story. The ‘prose’ extremely clunky with such a disjointed feeling. The language switches in such extremes – from sickening sweet misplaced poetic attempts, to extremely coarse language utterly out of place.

The narrative introduced scenarios completely implausible, almost as if trying to distract the reader from the poor writing. The narrative lacks refinement, and cultural respect. A ming ji is equivalent to a geisha but one would never know by this particular novel’s bawdy depiction. Riddled throughout the narrative excessive repetitiveness of words and phrases causing a disturbing distraction, not to mention annoying.

There is nothing seductive about this novel AND it is NOTHING close to Memoirs of a Geisha. Such a shame, the main protagonist Xiang Xiang was intriguing but her potential was extinguished almost from the beginning. Very disappointing.



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