Shanghai Girls (Paperback)

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May 2010 Indie Next List

“Pearl, the narrator of Shanghai Girls, says that parents die, husbands and children can leave, but sisters are for life. Her life takes her from being an indulged daughter to being sold as a wife to satisfy her father's gambling debts; from a comfortable life in Shanghai to a deperate escape from the invading Japanese, and on to San Francisco and a difficult life as an unwelcome immigrant. Through all these experiences and despite jealousies, rivalries, and a closely kept secret, Pearl and May are best friends. See tells a great story, and one that will prompt stimulating discussion.”
— Sally Wizik Wills, Sister Wolf Books, Park Rapids, MN

June 2009 Indie Next List

“Beginning in prewar Shanghai of the 1930s, Shanghai Girls tells an emotional story of two sisters who are 'pawned' in arranged marriages and sent to America as payment for a family debt. Lisa See has written a novel of sacrifice and newfound dreams that you must read.”
— Carol Hicks, Bookshelf At Hooligan Rocks, Truckee, CA


In 1937 Shanghai—the Paris of Asia—twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree—until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth. To repay his debts, he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from Los Angeles to find Chinese brides. As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, from the Chinese countryside to the shores of America. Though inseparable best friends, the sisters also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. Along the way they make terrible sacrifices, face impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are—Shanghai girls.

About the Author

Lisa See is the author of three previous novels: "Flower Net" (which was nominated for an Edgar Award), "The Interior," and "Dragon Bone"s. She is also the author of the widely acclaimed memoir "On Gold Mountain," She lives in Los Angeles.

Praise For…

“See is a gifted writer, and in Shanghai Girls she again explores the bonds of sisterhood while powerfully evoking the often nightmarish American immigrant experience.”—USA Today

“A buoyant and lustrous paean to the bonds of sisterhood.”–Booklist

“A rich work…as compulsively readable as it is an enlightening journey.”—Denver Post

“The glamour of prewar Shanghai is recalled in Lisa See’s deftly plotted Shanghai Girls.”Vogue


“An engrossing tale of two sisters.”–

Shanghai Girls is one of those books I could not wait to continue reading, because her characters' stories are so compellingly told.”—St. Louis Dispatch

“As in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love, she has in her latest novel created ordinary women who, through willfulness and resiliency, accomplish extraordinary things…See, whose writing is as graceful as these '’beautiful girls,'’ pulls off another exceptional novel.”–Miami Herald

Product Details
ISBN: 9780812980530
ISBN-10: 0812980530
Publisher: Random House Trade
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2010
Pages: 322
Language: English