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Northern Girls
Northern Girls

Northern Girls

Life Goes On

China Library


332 Pages, 5 x 8

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $9.95 (US $9.95) (CA $12.95)

Publication Date: June 2016

ISBN 9780670076161

Rights: US & CA

Penguin Books China (Jun 2016)

Sorry, this item is temporarily out of stock


A gritty tale of one young woman's move from rural China to the city

Qian Xiaohong is born in a sleepy Hunan village, where the new China rush toward development is a distant rumor. A buxom, naïve 16-year-old, she joins the mass migration to the boomtown of Shenzhen where she navigates dangerous encounters with ruthless bosses, jealous wives, sympathetic hookers and corrupt policemen. Moving through a grinding succession of dead end jobs, Xiaohong finds solace in her close ties with her fellow "northern girls," who quickly learn to rely on each other for humor and the enjoyment of life's simple pleasures. This coming-of-age novel explores the inner lives of a generation of young, rural Chinese women who embark on life-changing journeys in search of something better.


"Sheng adopts an unusually intimate approach and writes through, and about, women's bodies." —Didi Kirsten Tatlow, columnist

"There's something very forceful and full-bodied about the language. It's very physical . . . She's got a subtlety about what it means to be a woman, that others lack." —Eric Abrahamsen, translator, publishing consultant, co-founder,

"With a sense of humor reminiscent of Chinese writer Zhu Wen, and the kind of cruelty seen in author Yu Hua's novel To Live." —Jiang Yuxia, Global Times

"Sheng is perhaps the mainland's most eminent feminist writer today and Northern Girls hints at why . . . . a poignant portrait of struggle and survival that speaks to women everywhere, not just the stoic northern girls at the centre of it all." —Charlotte Middlehurst, South China Morning Post

"In a fast-paced, dialogue-heavy novel, Beijing author Sheng Keyi (???) unabashedly tackles prostitution, abortion and involuntary sterilization in the 1990s—real issues that claw at the conscience of many lower class women seeking independence in China." —The World of Chinese

Author Biography

Sheng Keyi is a highly regarded writer central to China's literary scene.