China Dolls Sex, showgirls, wartime intrigue: The latest from best-selling novelist See (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan) has what sounds like a can't-miss premise, and a… China Dolls Sex, showgirls, wartime intrigue: The latest from best-selling novelist See (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan) has what sounds like a can't-miss premise, and a… 2014-06-03 Fiction Random House
Book Review

China Dolls (2014)

CHINA DOLLS Lisa See
CHINA DOLLS Lisa See
EW's GRADE
B-

Details Release Date: Jun 03, 2014; Writer: Lisa See; Genre: Fiction; Publisher: Random House

Sex, showgirls, wartime intrigue: The latest from best-selling novelist See (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan) has what sounds like a can't-miss premise, and a grounding in real history: Her story of three Asian-American dancers in pre-WWII San Francisco is based partly on research and interviews with actual ''no-no girls.'' Alas, over 300-plus pages, the Dolls remain just that — pretty figurines whose inner lives never quite resonate. Though their costumes sparkle, See's prose rarely does, and the powerful things the book wants to say about female friendship, ambition, and the brutal racism of the era get blunted in the banality of the telling. B-

Originally posted Jun 11, 2014 Published in issue #1316 Jun 20, 2014 Order article reprints