Tag Archives: Christians

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang Title: Boxers and Saints
Author: Gene Luen Yang
Publisher: First Second
ISBN: 9781596439245
Genre: Graphic Novel
Pages: 512
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

I had heard a lot about this graphic novel. Almost every book haul had it; almost everyone was talking about it online and offline (to some extent). I knew I had to pick this one up and I did and let me tell you that this one just did not disappoint at all. I had read, “American Born Chinese” as well, so I sort of knew what I was expecting from this one.

“Boxers & Saints” are two individual graphic novels, but can only be read as one, for them to make sense to the reader. The book is set in the late 1800s and at the beginning of 1900. The year is 1898. The place: China. The foreign missionaries are here to stay and not only that; they are going from village to village and town to town, converting the Chinese to Catholics. They mock their Gods and do not let them follow their faith. Amidst this, stands up Little Bao, wanting to fight the foreigners. He has learned to harness the power of the ancient Chinese Gods and begins to recruit an army of Boxers – common folks trained in Kung Fu, to fight the devils (the foreigners). Their power works and to a very large extent they are successful as well. Their trials and tribulations are recorded in Boxers.

On the other hand, there is Saints, lending perspective to the Chinese that turned Catholics, through the eyes of one girl – an unwanted daughter known as Four-Girl. She has never been given a real name by her family. She has always tried to be loved, to be equal to her male cousins. But when she decides to convert, she gets a name, Vibiana and also an identity of sorts, a motive so to speak.

Bao’s and Vibiana’s paths cross very briefly and that you can only know, once you read the novel. Gene Luen builds a powerful construct in the form of a graphic novel. He brings out the themes of religion, alienation, faith, and old versus the new brilliantly through this storytelling form.

What is most interesting is that no one or rather very few people know of this time in Chinese history. Luen Yang brings that to fore, which is done subtly with Chinese Gods on one hand and Joan of Arc (yes you read that right) on the other, for inspiration and a struggle – both individually and for a nation.

“Boxers & Saints” is a graphic novel well thought of – from every single perspective. If you want to read something unique and different, when it comes to the graphic novel, then this is the perfect read for you. Highly recommended!

Here is a brilliant book trailer:

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387 Short Stories: Day 33: Story 33: A Private Experience by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Title: A Private Experience
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Taken from the Collection: The Thing Around Your Neck and Other Stories

“A Private Experience” is a beautiful story, written by Chimamanda. The stories in this entire collection are brimming with empathy, intellect and deep insight into human beings and day-to-day living. Her characters are casual and maintain the tone of informality and stability even in times of chaos.

“A Private Experience” is about clash of cultures and how two women get caught in the turmoil and come to understand each other and themselves in the process. Chika, a medical student gets caught in a riot between Christians and Muslims. She is leaded to shelter by a Muslim woman named Hausa, to a shop. The dynamics between these two women – one Christian and the other Muslim is remarkable. One prays toward the Mecca and the other starts praying on her rosary.

The story ends on a sensitive note and yet I thought there could have been so much more which she could have said and yet did not. Maybe that is just her way of writing and communicating, which eventually works for the reader. A read which is tender and real.

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