This reading group guide for The Bathing Women includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
Introduction The Bathing Women
follows the lives of four young women in China: sisters Tiao and Fan, and their friends Fei and Youyou. Children during the Cultural Revolution, they come of age in the years that China opens to the West. Each is deeply affected by Mao’s policies, and by the childhood death of Tiao’s half-sister, Quan. Despite the guilty secrets that bind them together, they find real strength in each other as they grow, fall in and out of love, and struggle to find their way in the world. Topics & Questions for Discussion
1.The Bathing Women
opens with Tiao contemplating the strange intersection of modern technology and old ways, as embodied by a girl on a bike. How is this intersection shown throughout the novel? How do the different characters handle the sweeping changes in China?
2.Despite moving to the countryside at a very young age, Tiao always considers herself a Beijinger. What does it mean to her to be from the city?
3.There are three major incidents in Tiao’s life: the publi