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L'ingratitude [Epub] ➞ L'ingratitude Author Ying Chen – Perhaps one has to come from an intensely traditional society such as the one Chinese author Ying Chen describes in her third novel Ingratitude in order to fully empathize with the protagonist's desir Perhaps one has to come from an intensely traditional society such as the one Chinese author Ying Chen describes in her third novel Ingratitude in order to fully empathize with the protagonist's desire to commit suicide solely to condemn her mother to a life of suffering I was burning with the desire to see Mother suffer at the sight of my corpse Suffer to the point of vomiting up her own blood An inconsolable pain What one wonders has the mother done to deserve such a fate Her worst sin it appears is to never have smiled at her daughter Yan Zi the narrator of this slim volume speaks to us from beyond the grave As she witnesses her own funeral preparations and the grief of her family and friends she looks back over the years that she lived A critical mother a distant unloving father admittedly Yan Zi's childhood was not an especially happy one but Ying Chen's minimal prose and sparse characterization make it difficult to see just what it was that drove this young woman to such extremes of hatred and revenge she would throw herself under a truck just to get back at her mother If Yan Zi's motives for taking such drastic action remain murky Ying Chen evokes the particulars of her life with laserlike precision There are the boyfriends Hong i Chun and Bi the bitter relationship between Yan Zi's mother and her grandmother and just a subtle hint of the changing political climate in China Your father was such an alert man Yan Zi's mother says discussing the car accident that destroyed her husband's mind; Who knows whether this accident wasn't an attempted murder You have to keep your eye on these kids they're crazy today It may be that in China Yan Zi's act of self annihilation would be viewed as the purest form of rebellion against the traditional expectations placed on women in that country; to a Western reader however her complaint that because of Mother my life would always be flawed comes off as adolescent whining Ingratitude is an apt title for this novel and one that invites several different interpretations.

10 thoughts on “L'ingratitude

  1. Rowena Rowena says:

    “They cling to life the way feathers cling to a bird without realizing how little they weigh They hate those who’d rather set sail abandon a life they don’t own jump into the void which at least has the advantage of being endless They accuse them of cowardice to prove their own bravery They take the liberty of judging the dead As a result the dead are seen differently from one era to the next heavy or light heroic or cowardly valuable or useless virtuous or immoral Death has become just like anything else something which they assign a price that varies with their mood”I read this book in one sitting Not the cheeriest of topics but a well written poetic and psychological account of a suicidal girl who has a toxic relationship with her mother It seems all her life her mother has been gearing her towards marriage while finding something to criticize with everything she does “I don’t owe you anything Mother You’ve always wanted me to be just like you you live in my body without any invitation and you decide so much of my fate You’re such a tyrant”Our protagonist is fed up with her life and I think it has a lot to do with expectations of women in Chinese society Perhaps as I’ve just been to China I was curious about familial dynamics and expectations Most of the people I met in China had no siblings and a few of them especially the girls talked about the pressure they sometimes felt to marry well Yan Zi doesn’t see much to look forward to in her life so decides to commit suicide as a punishment to her mother This book goes back and forth between the thoughts of the spirit of the girl watching the mourners and the events and careful planning leading up to her suicide I followed them with a morbid fascination; some of the thoughts were truly twisted There is some discussion about the Chinese afterlife and Kong Zi Confucius who was unfortunately slightly misogynist at least from what I’ve readAll in all a uick and intriguing read

  2. Aubrey Aubrey says:

    This illusion had sustained her all these years the inability to love being less hurtful than the desire not to love It's the morning after the US Mother's Day and I'm still recovering from my first period of being under the weather since leaving for this particular stint of college all of which has such a delicious irony to it that Fate is certainly out there laughing her ass off For such a small degree of relation mother and child sure has a lot of abject yet pristine yet sacrosanct yet toxic baggage to it and dragging my own experiences into the mix will inevitably feed on or the other or all as minutiae of the human species so often do Despite that mess of a paradigm any and all of it can be broken down into a nice and easy dichotomy things that don't make you sick and things that do It's impossible to separate this sort of discourse from that of mental illness and here I'm not even going to Simply put if you want your kid to turn out like me make it clear to them their status as financial investment from day one The way the world and its capitalism is chances are good you're doing it already His parents' teachings were etched in his mind so clearly that if asked to choose between jumping out the window or leaving rice in his bowl he would have had to think it over Panic over the world's rising population of human beings is a common enough topic socioeconomically absurd when considering the US alone would need three earths to sustain its current rate of consumption facile when the solution is of such ease To riff off Swift why eat babies when a singularly concise yet surprisingly multifarious uestion will eradicate landscapes of starving hoards? One will you support your child unconditionally regardless of what they are One will you support your child unconditionally regardless of who they are One will you support your child unconditionally regardless of who they become Mothers bear the brunt of this when it comes to criminal progeny but that's a minor matter when compared to that grand old consideration of eugenics and all its normative ualities If your child is autistic will you indulge in murder suicide? If they come out as trans at the age of six will you hit them across the face and consider therapy of the electric sort? If they don't go into engineering if they marry someone whose every other but moral characteristic render them in your eyes anathema if they sleep around or do drugs or happen to have feelings and autonomy to them than a parakeet or a doormat if any and all of that will cause you to pursue the futile path of Lear disowning what can never on the grounds of blood and marrow be rendered null and void you're unfit to breed This is the same sort of careless murder that results in living rabbits thrown into trash cans post Easter If all that begetting brings you is an obsession with an entitlement to power the best you can do is traumatize your offspring so much that they can't manage reality outside your grip à la capture bonding The worst is they'll kill themselves or you or both In between they'll just coddle you at the end of the ten foot pole of polite society eye your property and wait on you to die She never hesitated to reveal all her truths which I as her daughter was supposed to digest without difficulty Yet she didn't accept my truths She didn't want to believe I had truths of my own If by some accident such truths did exist Mother would do whatever she could to suppress them So I came to understand that sincerity was not for everyone Utter sincerity was the luxury of the strong If anyone brings up Oedipal complexes or Tiger Mothers I'm going to puke This isn't about your racialized misogyny This is about power and how even on the most intimate and microcosmic of scales it will inevitably all turn out I had been terrified and dreamed several times of a gruesome scene I was lying in a pool of blood my throat slit at the foot of my parents' bed; Father was sitting on the bed trembling the still warm knife in his hand; Mother had opened the door for the neighbors and was explaining that it was just an unfortunate accident People believed her because she couldn't stop sobbing

  3. Ming Ming says:

    This is a flawed book which prevents it from being powerful which it clearly seeks to be or entirely convincing which I hoped for it to be I felt negatively about the book in the first 23 of it but towards the ending Ying Chen improves and writes better In the early parts of the book however the narrative voice speaks with the volume at 100% tinny and cramped with sometimes clumsy metaphors that suggest at an intensity of feeling without really understanding its nature or its necessity Human intensity isn't done well in literature very often it seems For instance there are these morsels “This room was going to spit me out after having held me for so many yearsHe was philosophising as much as he could He was trying to imprison my soul in his spirit” Where the intensity feels contrived in my opinion simply because there's a bit too much imagination in the reaction which has the result of focusing wrongly on the detail of the matter as opposed to the fact of the matterThere are moments where Ying Chen's writing truly does work where she has biting insight and this seems to be the instances where she isn't trying so hard to write but just observingresponding without embellishments “I didn’t want to lie I simply hoped to hide behind my obedience”“They gladly bow before this box of ashes It’s easy to abase yourself in front of nothing They grant themselves the pathetic pleasure of humbling themselves a bit when somebody else’s body vanishes – the superiority of being alive merits these few seconds of humility toward the dead But there are limits to everything One has to save face before the living Thus upon emerging from the cemetery they all dry their eyes recover their composure and greet each other politely”But these usually come at the end and can't redeem the book entirelyMy feelings about this book are mixed There's something about the anger that resonates with me and no doubt many other Chinese children as well who feel constricted and are driven to the point of insanity because of how cultural values permit the careless use of guilt and shame and this book is a useful mirror to my own feelings This is a book that has moments of insight and reflection Unfortunately I think the ultimate failing of this book can best be understood by the words of Woolf in her essay A Room of One's Own where she lamented how Charlotte Bronte's gift as a writer was deformed by her anger and bitterness It's a tricky situation because the writer's anger and bitterness is what gives the writing and the story both its impetus and its focus it's just a shame that Ying Chen didn't uite have the resources or the discipline as a writer to properly discipline those emotions into doing her bidding

  4. Sarah karney Sarah karney says:

    remove all sharp objects before reading this oneVERY intense

  5. Omar Rosales Omar Rosales says:

    The story is very dark full of angst and contains some of the most bitter prose I've read in a while I could taste every single negative emotion the main character felt towards her mother

  6. Sheri Sheri says:

    Ingratitude A Novel Ying Chen is a gripping tale told from the perspective of young Yan Zi She is bitter towards her mother suffering years of emotional abuse As Yan Zi plots her suicide to show the final act of defiance towards her mother one is able to feel the emotional pain and burdens she carries Well written Ingratitude shows the struggle between mother and daughter and the ultimate fate of thissad lack of communication between the two Excellent read

  7. Shelley Shelley says:

    This book is disturbing but realistic in showing how it feels to be emotionally neglected by your parents The woman keeps trying to win her parents' love despite the obvious hopelessness of that effort It's a sad story but all too common with heartbreaking results The only good thing that might come from this book is if someone reading it realizes that she must give up on parents like that and live for herself Loyalty is over rated and often leads to unnecessary suffering

  8. Dee Dee says:

    A young Chinese woman commits suicide to spite her mother and the afterlife is not uite what she expects

  9. Sharon Sharon says:

    Pretty dark book Didn't enjoy it very much

  10. Rebekah Rebekah says:

    To die young is to violate the divine law It's immoral than showing your legs Goodreads recommended this book to me while I was reading Last Words from Montmarte and on the surface there strong similarities both are about the suicide of a young Chinese woman The character in Last Words is in Paris and the author of Ingratitude Ying Chen wrote this book in French Ingratitude is about a young woman who kills herself to basically get back at her mother for stifling her and dominating her life and she narrates the story from beyond the grave going back and forth between how the family reacts after the death and what led up to the suicide This book is very easy to read and uses a very simple form The writing isn't very difficult to grasp However I feel like this detached style was a bit of a double edged sword because I didn't feel very emotional despite understanding why Yan Zi feels the need to kill herself It ended up being a bit of a mediocre reading experience

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