In Kandikou Village, my driver introduces me to Mrs Liu, a boatwoman
descended from several generations of fisher-people.
Almost nothing is known about his service during the War, or what he remembered about his famous cousin, Flora Mcdonald, (Bonnie Prince Charlie's boatwoman
), who had lived near him in North Carolina.
Jin, whose stories are more of a personal nature and hardly venture into social commentary, nevertheless talks about "Black against East Indian and we Chiney in between." To the extent that any of these writers look nostalgically to China as a source of inspiration, only Lee's poems seem to show any of this concern, although several of Jin's stories have pure Chinese characters and backgrounds, including the haunting "Song of the Boatwoman
" (curiously unmentioned by Lee-Loy).
the description of the gecko on the wall in Corridor and the Charon-like boatwoman
Whether you are a soldier who was once left behind in the unforgiving climate of 1970s Cambodia, a freight conductor from La Crosse, or a boatwoman
living the emancipated life of a river-rat in Red Wing, Minnesota, you have a story to tell about your understanding of the earth around you.
Without any taint of condescension, she enjoys "naked children," singing boat crews, processions of brides and funerals, Buddhist monks in "such strange yellow hats" and Daoist priests with coiled hair, bare-chested men throwing quoits, a boatwoman
with a baby on her back, and children with silver hoops around their necks.
WORKING GIRL: A boatwoman
at rudder with decorative ropework.