Pavilion of women
On her fortieth birthday, Madame Wu carries out a decision she has been planning for a long time: she tells her husband that after twenty-four years their physical life together is now over and she wishes him to take a second wife. The House of Wu, one of the oldest and most revered in China, is thrown into an uproar by her decision, but Madame Wu will not be dissuaded and arranges for a young country girl to come take her place in bed. Elegant and detached, Madame Wu orchestrates this change as she manages everything in the extended household of more than sixty relatives and servants. Alone in her own quarters, she relishes her freedom and reads books she has never been allowed to touch. When her son begins English lessons, she listens, and is soon learning from the foreigner, a free-thinking priest named Brother Andre, who will change her life. Few books raise so many questions about the nature and roles of men and women, about self-discipline and happiness.
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Ailien Andre's angry beautiful began body Brother Ch'iuming Ch'iuming's cheeks child concubine court cried dark daughter door exclaimed eyes face father feel felt Fengmo flesh flower foreign garments gazed girl gone hair hands happy head heard heart Heaven Jasmine Kang's laughed Liangmo lifted Linyi lips listened Little Sister Hsia live Madame Kang Madame Wu asked Madame Wu inquired Madame Wu looked Madame Wu replied Madame Wu saw Madame Wu smiled marriage Meichen Meng mind morning mother mouth murmured never night Old Gentleman Old Lady Old Lady's old woman once orchids Pavilion of Women peonies priest rose Rulan servants Shanghai silent silk sleep son's sons soul speak spoke stood strange talk tell thing thought told took Tsemo voice waiting wet nurse wife wish women words Wu family Wu's Yenmo Ying young woman