Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother

Stories of Loss and Love

About The Book

Following her internationally bestselling book The Good Women of China, Xinran has written one of the most powerful accounts of the lives of Chinese women. Her searing stories of mothers who have been driven to abandon their daughters or give them up for adoption is a masterful and significant work of literary reportage and oral history.

Xinran has gained entrance to the most pained, secret chambers in the hearts of Chinese mothers—students, successful businesswomen, midwives, peasants—who have given up their daughters. Whether as a consequence of the single-child policy, destructive age-old traditions, or hideous economic necessity, these women had to give up their daughters for adoption; others even had to watch as their baby daughters were taken away at birth and drowned. Xinran beautifully portrays the “extra-birth guerrillas” who travel the roads and the railways, evading the system, trying to hold on to more than one baby; naïve young girl students who have made life-wrecking mistakes; the “pebble mother” on the banks of the Yangzte River still looking into the depths for her stolen daughter; peasant women rejected by their families because they can’t produce a male heir; and Little Snow, the orphaned baby fostered by Xinran but confiscated by the state.

For parents of adopted Chinese children and for the children themselves, this is an indispensable, powerful, and intensely moving book. Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother is powered by love and by heartbreak and will stay with readers long after they have turned the final page.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (March 8, 2011)
  • Length: 272 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781451610956

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Raves and Reviews

"A touching book...[Xinran] gives voice to the silent heartbreak of tens of thousands of Chinese women." —New York Post

“This collection is powerful and heartbreaking. It's a must-read for families who have adopted children from China, as well as for anyone who has an interest in what women's lives are like in the economic powerhouse China has become.” –Lisa See

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