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Leaving Mother Lake: A Girlhood at the Edge…

Leaving Mother Lake: A Girlhood at the Edge of the World

by Yang Erche Namu, Yang Erche Namu

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Fascinating look at a matrilineal society in China. ( )
  libq | Dec 10, 2012 |
Deep in the mountains on the China-Tibet border, 2685 meters above sea level, lies Lake Lugu and the Moso people. Known as the Country of Daughters, this society has lived relatively cut off from the rest of the world. While these people are said to be matriarchal, it is actually a bit more complex than that, as Mathieu, the anthropologist of this book explains. Because of their remoteness and their customs that seem so unusual to the outside world, the Moso are not easily understood. While they may not be matriarchal, they are matrilineal - blood ties are determined by maternity rather than paternity. This makes complete sense because of their tradition of walking marriages whereby sexual relationships between men and women are not monogamous.

With this book, the reader is introduced not only to this culture, but also to a rare example of an individual from this culture that has made a way and a name for herself in the outside world. The daughter of a rebel who wanted to join the communist party, Yang became a rebel herself. As a baby, her mother tried to exchange her for other children, to families who desired a girl or had no children of their own because Yang would not stop crying. Inevitably, however, she always ended up back with her mother. When she was eight, Yang went to live with her uncle herding yaks, and she did not return to live in her village again until she was thirteen. As a teenager, she was invited to sing in the cities in contests, and she was a great success. She returned to her village, but a short time later she ran away to become a singer in the city. As was her mother, Yang was a rebel. She left her family to go it alone as her mother had done, putting strain on this all important relationship.

Yang has a fascinating and unusual life. To Westerners, her upbringing and customs are intriguing; to Moso, her rebelliousness and estrangement are disconcerting. Always the outsider, Yang has overcome some of the most dangerous obstacles to find her place in the world and to tell her story.
  Carlie | Jan 8, 2009 |
Leaving Mother Lake is a peek into a different world, one that is completely different from the rest of the world, and fast disappearing. Namu grew up in an isolated section of the Himalayas in China. In her society the women did not marry, they were the ones that owned the property and passed it down to their daughters. The men either live with their mothers or live a mostly nomadic existance, "visiting" women on a temporary basis. There was no word for father in their culture.

Since this author is just about my age I found myself comparing my childhood to what hers much have been like. They had no electricity, no running water, not much schooling.

Namu is lifted out of her childhood home when she is discovered to have a wonderful singing voice. She no longer lives there but does go back to visit, where she has a complicated relationship with her mother. This story of her journey is a eye opening read. ( )
  thetometraveller | Jun 6, 2008 |
Fascinating view of a woman's childhood in the Moso tribe in southwestern China. ( )
  aemurray | Feb 3, 2008 |
T Bk club. Remarkable story of a matrilineal society high in the mountains between China and Tibet. Girls are favored; traditional marriage is not; women may take many lovers; siblings have different fathers none of whom live with the families; men live in their mothers' houses so children are raised with uncles. Yang escaped this wondrous yet remote and life by winning a singing competition at a young age. The book tells how she became an internationally known musician and model. ( )
  lizhawk | Jun 2, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316735493, Paperback)

- The hardcover edition of LEAVING MOTHER LAKE debuted at #3 on the San Francisco Chronicle's bestseller list.- A revelation of a culture virtually unknown in the West, a contemporary society in which women enjoy true sexual and economic freedom.- A huge international success, with rights sold in England, Finland, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Sweden.- Hardcover ISBN: 0-316-12471-0

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:27 -0400)

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"In the remote Himalayas, on the shores of magnificent Lake Lugu, there is a place the Chinese call "the Country of Daughters." This is the home of the Moso, a remarkable society in which women rule men. In the Moso tradition, marriage is considered a backward practice, and property is passed from mother to daughter. Every household has a matriarch who oversees the family's customs, rituals, and economics. Daughters are prized above sons, and both live their entire lives in the house where they were born."."In the extraordinary story of Yang Erche Namu, life among the Moso is revealed for the first time in fascinating, intimate detail. Leaving Mother Lake is the story of one girl's coming-of-age in a world of women. From Namu we learn of a young girl's "skirt ceremony," of how courtship is conducted through dance and song, and of the private "flower chambers" where young women consort with their lovers. Despite the freedoms Namu enjoys, they aren't the freedoms she desires. Her impulsive, restless nature drives her to leave her mother's house, defying the tradition that holds Moso culture together. She learns she must venture out into the larger world to see better the one she leaves behind."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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