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Leaving Mother Lake: A Girlhood at the Edge of the World

Yang E Namu, Christine Mathieu

3 Reviews

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Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction, Gender studies: women

* The spirited tale of a young Chinese girl's transformation into 'The Tibetan Madonna'.* A universal tale of mothers and daughters - the battles that drive them apart and the love that brings them back together.

The Tibetans refer to Moso country as 'The Country of Daughters' because of their unique matrilineal society. In Moso culture, daughters are favoured children. There is no word for father, marriage is considered a backward practice, and property is passed on from mother to daughter. LEAVING MOTHER LAKE is the haunting memoir of a girl growing up in a remarkable place. In her village, Namu was known as the girl whose mother tried to give her away three times because she would not stop crying. The strong-willed Namu clashes with her equally fierce mother, becoming alienated from village life. When Chinese officials come looking for talented singers, she seizes her chance and breaks the taboo that holds Moso culture together - she leaves her mother's house. Winning a place at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music as a special minority student, Namu becomes 'the Madonna of Tibet', singing on the soundtrack of The Joy Luck Club.

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Praise for Leaving Mother Lake: A Girlhood at the Edge of the World

  • What raises LEAVING MOTHER LAKE above the general run of travel books is Namu's personality. She is lively, wise and sparky, and breathes real life into an extraordinary story - Michael Palin

  • Rich in local colour and lore, an evocative introduction to a unique way of life - KIRKUS

  • A lyrical evocation of girlhood in a remote land... [a] phenomenal true story. - AXM

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