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China Dolls: A Novel Audiobook, by Lisa See Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Lisa See Narrator: Jodi Long Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2014 ISBN: 9780385394161
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST

The author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls has garnered international acclaim for her great skill at rendering the intricate relationships of women and the complex meeting of history and fate. Now comes Lisa See’s highly anticipated new novel, China Dolls.

 

It’s 1938 in San Francisco: a world’s fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade. The stunning Ruby Tom challenges the boundaries of convention at every turn with her defiant attitude and no-holds-barred ambition.

 

The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.

Praise for China Dolls

 

“Superb . . . This emotional, informative and brilliant page-turner resonates with resilience and humanity.”The Washington Post

 

“This is one of those stories I’ve always wanted to tell, but Lisa See beat me to it, and she did it better than I ever could. Bravo! Here’s a roaring standing ovation for this heartwarming journey into the glittering golden age of Chinese nightclubs.”—Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

 

“A fascinating portrait of life as a Chinese-American woman in the 1930s and ’40s.”—The New York Times Book Review

 

“A sweeping, turbulent tale of passion, friendship, good fortune, bad fortune, perfidy and the hope of reconciliation.”—Los Angeles Times

 

“Lisa See masterfully creates unforgettable characters that linger in your memory long after you close the pages.”—Bookreporter

 

“Stellar . . . The depth of See’s characters and her winning prose makes this book a wonderful journey through love and loss.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

China Dolls plunges us into a fascinating history and offers an accessible meditation on themes that are still urgent in our contemporary world.”San Francisco Chronicle

 

China Dolls is [Lisa See’s] most penetrating since Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.”The Seattle Times

 

“A spellbinding portrait of a time burning with opportunity and mystery.”O: The Oprah Magazine

From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Superb . . . This emotional, informative and brilliant page-turner resonates with resilience and humanity. The Washington Post
     
  • This is one of those stories I’ve always wanted to tell, but Lisa See beat me to it, and she did it better than I ever could. Bravo! Here’s a roaring standing ovation for this heartwarming journey into the glittering golden age of Chinese nightclubs. Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
     
  • A fascinating portrait of life as a Chinese-American woman in the 1930s and ’40s. The New York Times Book Review
  • A sweeping, turbulent tale of passion, friendship, good fortune, bad fortune, perfidy and the hope of reconciliation. Los Angeles Times
     
  • Lisa See masterfully creates unforgettable characters that linger in your memory long after you close the pages. Bookreporter
     
  • Stellar . . . The depth of See’s characters and her winning prose makes this book a wonderful journey through love and loss. Publishers Weekly (starred review)
     
  • China Dolls plunges us into a fascinating history and offers an accessible meditation on themes that are still urgent in our contemporary world. The women’s story explores burning questions about the possibilities of friendship, the profound effects of betrayal, the horrors of prejudice and the nature of ambition—especially female ambition. . . . These Asian artists were true pioneers, breaking ground, chasing vast dreams, subverting stereotypes simply by appearing onstage against the odds. Here, in China Dolls, they have found another stage of sorts, another place to rightfully shine. San Francisco Chronicle
     
  • China Dolls is [Lisa See’s] most penetrating since Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. The Seattle Times
  • A spellbinding portrait of a time burning with opportunity and mystery. O: The Oprah Magazine
  • [An] impeccably researched and distinctive historical saga of desire and ambition, betrayal and revenge . . . See again lavishly explores the thorny intricacies of female friendships. Booklist
  • Fresh and lively . . . powerful passages . . . a compelling story. Los Angeles Review of Books
     
  • China Dolls mines a fascinating part of our cultural history through the story of a trio of women who become a complex constant in one another’s lives even as the world serves up painful transformation. Lisa See gets so much just right here. You’ll want to dive right in. Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife
     
  • Colorful and fascinating historical touches tie the story together perfectly and form an exquisite backdrop. Library Journal
  • “This is one of those stories I’ve always wanted to tell, but Lisa See beat me to it, and she did it better than I ever could. Bravo! Here’s a roaring standing ovation for this heartwarming journey into the glittering golden age of Chinese nightclubs.”

    Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Songs of Willow Frost

  • China Dolls mines a fascinating part of our cultural history through the story of a trio of women who become a complex constant in one another’s lives even as the world serves up painful transformation. Lisa See gets so much just right here. You’ll want to dive right in.”

    Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife

  • “A fascinating portrait of life as a Chinese-American woman in the 1930s and ’40s.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “In the beginning of See’s stellar ninth book, three young women, Grace, Helen, and Ruby, meet and form an unlikely but strong bond in San Francisco in 1938…The story alternates between their viewpoints, with each woman’s voice strong and dynamic, developing a multilayered richness as it progresses. The depth of See’s characters and her winning prose makes this book a wonderful journey through love and loss.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “See’s many fans will…enjoy watching each protagonist’s true story unfold; they will also be intrigued by the vivacity of the ‘Chop Suey Circuit.’ These colorful and fascinating historical touches tie the story together perfectly and form an exquisite backdrop for the adventures of the three friends.”

    Library Journal

  • “In her impeccably researched and distinctive historical saga of desire and ambition, betrayal and revenge set amid the glitz and debauchery of burlesque entertainment on the ‘chop suey circuit,’ See again lavishly explores the thorny intricacies of female friendships.”

    Booklist

  • “See’s latest follows three Asian American showgirls whose dreams are derailed then reset by the onset of World War II…A welcome spotlight on an overlooked segment of showbiz history.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “In 1938, Grace, Helen, and Ruby cross paths in San Francisco, each looking for a kind of escape. The novel’s chapters alternate between each woman’s perspective, allowing narrator Jodi Long to escape into each personality and experience while keeping characters straight for listeners…Long’s performance hinges on her ability to bring emotion to the surface, particularly during sensitive and comic scenes. She’s adept at managing an array of personalities while taking special delight in delivering the colloquial language of the 1940s. A perfect blend of history and performance. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • A New York Times bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A San Francisco Chronicle bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly bestseller
  • An iTunes Top Seller
  • An NPR bestseller
  • One of Barnes & Noble's Biggest Books of June 2014
  • A Los Angeles Times bestseller
  • A June 2014 LibraryReads Pick

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About the Author

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including Dreams of Joy, which made the #1 New York Times bestsellers list. She was the recipient of the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Association of Southern California and the History Maker’s Award from the Chinese American Museum. She was also named National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women.