FireWife: A Story Of Fire and Water
by: Tingling Choong
Published by: Anchor Books
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Reviewed by Patty Inglish, MS
FireWife illustrates the common female tragedy of global maltreatment, primarily in developing and Third World countries in Asia.
Rooted in Choong’s updated Chinese foundation myth wherein Woman awoke inside the Egg of Time and pushed it apart to form the heavens and earth, the particular “uniqueness” felt by the archetypal abused woman is, in this novella, translated into spiritual superiority connected to the Creator Goddess, Nuwa of the Egg, representative of Womankind. The abuse experience is reconciled in a woman through experiencing the pain of other women and embracing it as a common circumstance. Woman achieves flight like a firebird as an adult through orgasm and the freedom of sprit it releases to join with the Goddess, Femaleness, and the strength of Fire. The endgame in which Fire defeats Water is lesbian sex: spiritual and physical union with a female spirit and the foundation myth. Womankind’s plight is One and it is Life.
The superstition that protagonist Nin can release women’s spirits with a camera as she photographs them, culminates in her own mental transition as she studies and snaps them. Nin photographs six women and communes with a spirit girl that travels between time dimensions to facilitate Nin’s integration of a larger female wisdom with dreams and visions after she witnesses abuse.
The novella is blunt yet artistic in graphic depictions of female atrocities – rape, murder, a woman ignited with kerosene for her assertiveness, a 5-year-old girl drowned in tapioca pit dross, obscenities, sexual abuse, masturbation, lesbian events, and sexual intercourse. A powerful scene is one in which rich Japanese men eat sushi from the back of a naked woman on hands and knees – a human table, the chauvinistic tradition of Nyotaimori. The maltreatment of women in this novella is repugnant, but unfortunately, also from the pages of truth. Nyotaimori has reached California, where a woman can be hired as a table or sell her forehead for ad campaign space, as is the fate of another of Nin’s subjects.
Men and women interested in feminist activism will value this book. It is their clarion call. This book might also be a good college text for a class studying the subject.
Armchair Interviews says: Very unique subject matter that will find a place with a specific audience.
Author’s Web site: http://www.TinlingChoong.com
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