Book Review: Good Chinese Wife

A fellow Shenzhen expat has reviewed Susan Blumberg-Kason’s memoir, Good Chinese Wife. I am also a 中国媳妇 and find myself distressed by the suffering and self doubt that characterized her relationship with her ex-husband. In fact, Blumberg-Kason’s anxieties and willingness to give her husband the benefit of the cultural doubt resonated uncomfortably. I believe that one of the biggest challenges for women abroad is to find the confidence to trust our experience and say, “No more of this shit.” Another Shenzhen expat, Rose writes about her experiences navigating the gendered cultural divide is , who blogs at China Elevator Stories.



“GOOD Chinese Wife” is a new memoir published by Sourcebooks, and is a poignant tale expats should enjoy about the overlap of China and the West. Susan Blumberg-Kason details her unfortunate marriage to a Chinese music scholar, as they meet while studying in Hong Kong and then travel to his hometown in Hubei Province before eventually settling in San Francisco, California.

The central question posed by their troubled relationship is whether their differences were due to culture or personality. Interracial marriages may have some problems, but are certain individual defects masked by the excuse of culture?

As their relationship begins, Blumberg-Kason appreciates her future husband’s background. She studies Mandarin as a postgraduate in Hong Kong in the early 1990s, and stays there through the time of the handover in 1997, and for a reader familiar with South China it can be very interesting to compare that time with…

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