The Interpreter's Daughter

The Interpreter's Daughter: A remarkable true story of feminist defiance in 19th Century Singapore

Non-Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Literary Biography & Memoir
Hardback Published on: 23/06/2022
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Bookseller Reviews

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The Interpreter's Daughter
'A country without its history is unthinkable even for one day'
My immediate thought upon finishing Lim's book was just... wow. A phenomenal book, truly unlike any book I've read before, there were oftentimes I forgot t... READ MORE
Jess at Waterstones Lincoln High St


I would learn that when families tell stories, what they leave out re-defines what they keep in. With my family, these were not secrets intentionally withheld. Just truths too painful to confront.

In the last years of her life, Teresa Lim's mother, Violet Chang, had copies of a cherished family photograph made for those in the portrait who were still alive. The photo is mounted on cream card with the name of the studio stamped at the bottom in Chinese characters.

The place and date on the back: Hong Kong, 1935.

Teresa would often look at this photograph, enticed by the fierceness and beauty of her great-aunt Fanny looking back at her. But Fanny never seemed to feature in the told and retold family stories. 'Why?' she wondered.

This photograph set Teresa on a journey to uncover her family's remarkable history. Through detective work, serendipity, and the kindness of strangers, she was guided to the fascinating, ordinary, extraordinary life of her great-aunt and her world of sworn spinsters, ghost husbands and the working-class feminists of 19th century south China. But to recover her great-aunt's past, we first must get to know Fanny's family, the times and circumstances in which they lived, and the momentous yet forgotten conflicts that would lead to war in Singapore and, ultimately, a long-buried family tragedy.

  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 9780241544402
  • Number of pages: 352
  • Weight: 592g
  • Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 33 mm

Customer Reviews

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The Interpreter's Daughter
Portrait of an enterprising woman, born before her time - fascinating!
This starts quite slowly, albeit full of interesting facts about Chinese life from late 19th Century and earlier. (Perhaps I only felt that 'slowness' beca... READ MORE
The Interpreter's Daughter
Well Written
For two years of my younger life 1969 to 1971, I lived in Singapore with my wife. That experience only made reading this book more poignant. It is the rema... READ MORE
Steven Capel