Daughter of Xanadu – Part 3/4

April 19, 2011

A review (guest post) by Tom Carter of Daughter of Xanadu by
Dori Jones Yang

Authoress Dori Jones Yang is a Caucasian American, yet she is no stranger to writing from the perspective of conflicted adolescent Chinese girls, as evinced in her previous, award-winning novel, The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang.

In Daughter of Xanadu, she hones in even deeper into the physiological confusion and emotional conflictions that make youth such a joy, turning Emmajin into such a hormonal wreck that this male reviewer often found himself gritting his teeth in frustration at such contradictive revelations as, “if he had pursued me, I would have rebuffed him. By holding himself aloof, he challenged me to win back his esteem.”

Daughter of Xanadu is not all-teenage angst.  As our protagonist matures, so does the content of the story.

Emmajin eventually persuades Khubilai Khan to allow her to train for war against the Burmese at the Battle of Vochan (present-day Yunnan province), where the embarrassment of getting her period in front of the all-male troops is a bloody omen for what’s to come.

Upon seeing her cousin slain, innocent Emmajin is transformed into a “mindless killer.”

  Bloodlust unleashed, the young princess swings her sword indiscriminately (“the hatred pounded in my ears…killing him felt good”), resulting in hundreds of men dead by her hand alone.

One can only imagine all the Mulan vs. Emmajin fan fiction that this novel will inspire!

Continued on April 20, 2011 in Daughter of Xanadu – Part 4 or return to Daughter of Xanadu – Part 2

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Travel photographer Tom Carter is the author of China: Portrait of a People (San Francisco Chronicle Book Review), a 600-page China photography book, which may be found at Amazon.com.

Discover more “Guest Posts” from Tom Carter with Is Hong Kong Any Place for a Poor American?

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Adoptions in China Changing

July 3, 2010

In Earth to Earth, Dust to Dust, Ashes to Ashes, I wrote about the tragic death of Faith Dremmer, who was adopted in China.  Her American mother’s journey to adopt her was one that many Americans have taken.

The Lost Daughters of China by Karin Evans is about those abandoned girls and their journey to America.

Now, McClathcy.com reports that China restricts foreign adoptions as demand grows at home.  One reason being that prosperous, middle-class Chinese families without children now want to adopt and can afford it.

Another reason is that there are not as many children being left at orphanages by poverty-stricken families, who cannot afford to feed another mouth. China’s prosperity allows families to earn enough money so they don’t have to make that difficult decision.

In fact, adoptions by American families are down 60% since 2005, according to the State Department.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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