Friday, December 12, 2014

"Secret of a Thousand Beauties"

Mingmei Yip is the author of six novels (the 7th coming out in 2015), including her new release Secret of a Thousand Beauties (the story of a former imperial embroiderer and her orphaned, supposedly celibate followers), The Nine fold Heaven (an ex-spy looking for her lost love and supposedly still born baby), Skeleton Women (story of three femmes fatales), Song of the Silk road (adventure on China’s ancient route with a three million dollar award), Petals from the Sky (inter-racial love story), and Peach Blossom Pavilion (story of the last Chinese geisha).

Yip applied the Page 69 Test to Secret of a Thousand Beauties and reported the following:
From page 69:
Father Edwin liked to quote the Chinese saying “Times flies like a horse jumping over a valley.” The scent of spring was in the air. In the ten months that had passed since I’d joined this small community of supposedly celibate women, I had become very good at embroidering. This was the result not only of Aunty Peony’s intensive teaching, her relentless scoldings, and the burning of countless incense sticks—but also my fear of being sent back to my old village.

I felt somewhat relieved that so far I hadn’t run into anyone from Old Village, or seen any ad of “Missing Person” with my photo. But, of course, we rarely left the house, and if we did, we only went to the neighboring village. So if Mean Aunt was looking for me in Soochow, pasting ads on walls, lampposts, even in newspapers, I wouldn’t have noticed. But I still reminded myself to be careful. However, even if they did find me, could they do anything if I refused to go back?

Having thus reassured myself, I felt more relaxed. I was exultant that Aunty Peony finally let me work on her intended masterpiece Along the River. But I thought it would be even better if Aunty would let me make my own copies of her stitch patterns and drawings of famous paintings. When I asked her, she looked at me suspiciously and adamantly refused, saying that they were not to be borrowed or copied. Period.
This page actually summarizes quite well the thoughts of the narrator Spring Swallow after she had escaped her abusive Mean Aunt in Old Village and joined a small community of supposedly celibate embroiderers.
Visit Mingmei Yip's website, and view the book trailer for Secret of a Thousand Beauties.

My Book, The Movie: Secret of a Thousand Beauties.

--Marshal Zeringue