Empress Orchid tracked the concubine Orchid's path to becoming Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi; this revisionist look at her long years behind her son Tung"/>

The Last Empress

Anchee Min, Author . Houghton Mifflin $25 (308p) ISBN 978-0-618-53146-2

Min's Empress Orchid tracked the concubine Orchid's path to becoming Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi; this revisionist look at her long years behind her son Tung Chih's throne (1863–1908) won't disappoint Orchid's fans. Recounted through Tzu Hsi's first-person, the early chapters encompass her trials as a young "widow," as co-regent with the late emperor's wife and as a mother. An engaging domestic drama gives way to pedestrian political history; Tzu Hsi lectures like a popular historian on palace intrigue, military coups, the Boxer Rebellion and conflicts with Russia, France and Japan. Though tears flow, there is little passion (save Tzu Hsi's erotic but chaste longing for Yung Lu, commander of the emperor's troops). Min's empress adopts a notably modern psychologizing tone ("How much was Guang-hsu affected when he was wrenched from the family nest?"), earthy language ("You are the most wretched fucking demon I know!") and notes of historical prescience (including what "future critics" will say). Min attacks the popular conception of Tzu Hsi as a corrupt, ruthless, power-hungry assassin, but the results read less like a novel than a didactic memoir. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/01/2007
Release date: 03/01/2007
Show other formats
FORMATS
Compact Disc - 978-1-4281-4352-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-9997-4
Paperback - 308 pages - 978-0-547-05370-7
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-547-34690-8
Hardcover - 13 pages - 978-1-4074-0853-8
Hardcover - 13 pages - 978-1-4074-0852-1
Hardcover - 432 pages - 978-0-7475-9385-0
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.