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Tsukiyama, Gail (1957)

Gail Tsukiyama, 1957. Gail Tsukiyama, 1957.

Gail Tsukiyama (1957) is an award-winning Asian-American novelist, whose work focuses on the lives of Chinese women, often textile workers. Her debut novel Women of the Silk (published in 1991) is set in a silk factory in 1920's rural China, where the young girl Pei is working in a silk house. The book includes details of the mutual aid societies that were organized by Chinese women silk workers.

In 1999 Tsukiyama published a sequel in her fourth novel, The Language of Threads. In this novel, the character Pei arrives in Hong Kong in the 1930's together with a young orphan, Ji Shen, and lives in the home of Mrs Finch, an English expatriate. Yet the war with Japan changes everything. Pei works as a saitong (washer and ironer of richly embroidered cheongsams), then sets up her own tailoring business, where she begins to embroider the story of her life in silk.

Tsukiyama also published The Samurai's Garden (1996) and Night of Many Dreams (1998). Other books include: Dreaming Water (2002), The Street of a Thousand Blossoms (2007), A Hundred Flowers (2012).

Digital sources:

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 15 June 2016).


Last modified on Sunday, 15 January 2017 11:56