In this work of historical fiction, Anchee Min attempts to tell the story of Madame Mao Zedong, the wife of China’s Chairman Mao. Madame Mao was thought to be responsible for many of the troubling aspects of the cultural revolution, and this novel presented an interesting look at how this young actress rose to the heights of power.
My favorite book by Anchee Min is Empress Orchid, and I was hoping that Becoming Madame Mao would rise to that level. Unfortunately, I thought this book was just so-so. Min’s stark style of writing made it difficult for the characters to come alive for me. Min constantly switched back and forth from a third person narrator to a first person narrator (on the same page!) and I found that irritating. Still, I learned a little more about the infamous woman who affected millions of lives.
2 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2000