Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ruthanne Lum McCunn/GOD OF LUCK

In the marketplace in his village in southern China, a young man named Ah Lung is kidnapped and taken on board a slave ship bound for Peru, where Chinese conscripts (or "pigs") are impressed into "eight" years of hard labor, paid only in scrip, on the sugar cane fields or on the guano islands. The life expectancy among the pigs is 3 years and their chances of earning their freedom close to zero. At home, Ah Lung's clever spinster twin, Moongirl, and his gifted silkwormer wife, Bo See, conspire to try to free him from his impressment.

I picked out this book because it was a Fall Booksense pick. I was also interested in the topic, since I didn't know much about Asian slave trade to the "new world" (it turns out more than 1,000,000 Chinese slaves were brought over during the 19th century). McCunn did a lot of research and I feel like I really learned a lot from 250 quick pages--about the slave trade, about raising silkworms, about life on board a trans-Pacific vessel.

A nice short book, which is always a positive for me.


Ello said...

Oh now this one I definitely want to read!

Church Lady said...

This sounds great!
I can't possibly get this right now. I'm waiting for about 4 shipments of Amazon as we e-speak!
I'm deeply interested in the topic of slaves and how society stratifies people.
In Dubai, the whites (who are regarded as wealthy whether they are or not) usually have nannies/maids. I've seen so many people start to think that they 'own' their help.
When I'm there, it's a struggle to talk to the nannies/maids. I'm the only one in our neighborhood without a nanny, so I take my children out and there's no one to talk to except these *servants*
That's why I can't be there full time.
Anyway, I'm rambling. But I have been thinking about how to write about the sociology of this topic. Looking at people as 'lesser than' is easier than you think.