Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Anyone up for some Chop-Suey to go?

Ok -- first off, I KNOW that Chop-Suey is as American as Apple Pie... oops, just did a wikipedia search to verify & found that it's not exactly so. Here's a link to read up on it : Chop-Suey .

But getting back to the actual BOOK -- This book, Ann Zu-Zan was written by an American woman by the name of Louise Jordan Miln. Born in the US in 1864, she traveled extensively around the states with her doctor father. She went to Vassar but left without graduating --to marry George Crichton Miln, an English actor. The two of them went galivanting off to see the world and act wherever their feet touched down. They spent a decent amount of time in Australia / New Zealand (both of them acting here and there) and then traveled to China for a stay (from what I can gather, it was at least a year.... though there may have been more than one trip back and forth). Mrs. Miln became a devoted Orientalist -- she fell in love with the Orient. At some point, her acting turned to writing and her main subject was, of course, China.

This particular book came towards the end of her life (she died in 1933 and this book dates from 1932, however there are two, and possibly three books that appeared in 1933/1934). While it is considered a romantic piece, the book is full of contemporary Chinese cultural tidbits and is heavily slanted towards the Chinese perspective, not the American (of course, as an American, Miln unconciously slanted to the western perspective anyway).

Overall, a quite interesting book from an author with an interesting history.

Oh, and just a note -- the heroine's first name is Zu-zan.... Ann is the family name.

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