Peach Blossom Pavilion
by Mingmei Yip

[November 07, 2008]


Author, musician and artist, Dr. Mingmei Yip will present a reading (with performances) from her recently published novel, Peach Blossom Pavilion (Kensington Books, 2008) a fictionalized tale of the last mingji (prestigious prostitute) or Geisha, of China.

The novel tells the story about the last and most successful courtesan in China, in the 1920's French Confession in Shanghai. Powell’s Books says "From a prodigiously talented new Chinese author comes a marvelous debut novel about a woman who becomes China's most successful courtesan. Yip's work echoes "Memoirs of a Geisha," but with a sharper, more suspenseful pace.

In discussing her best-selling novel Peach Blossom Pavilion, now in its fourth printing, Mingmei will introduce the fascinating culture of the Chinese courtesan/Geisha, illustrated by old photographs. Following the talk, Mingmei will play the qin - the oldest Chinese stringed instrument performed in the recent Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and demonstrate calligraphy, in the Geisha's tradition. Copies of Peach Blossom Pavilion will be available for sale and autograph.

Synopsis - “In a sunny California apartment, a young woman and her finance arrive to record her great-grandmother’s  reminiscences. The story that unfolds of Precious Orchid’s life in China, where she rises from a childhood of shame to become one of  the most successful courtesans in the land, is unlike any they’ve heard before….

When Precious Orchid’s father is falsely accused of a crime and found guilty, he is executed, leaving his family a legacy of dishonor. Her mother is banished to a Buddhist nunnery and she is abandoned to the “care” of a relative in Shanghai.

At first, life at Peach Blossom Pavilion feels like a dream. Surrounded by exotic flowers, murmuring fountains, colorful fishponds, and jade-green bamboo groves, Precious Orchid sees herself thriving. She is schooled in music, literature, paining, calligraphy, and to her innocent surprise, the art of pleasuring men. For the beautiful Pavilion hides its darker purpose as an elite house of prostitution. And even as she commands the devotion of China’s most powerful man, Precious Orchid never gives up her determination to escape the Pavilion, be reunited with her long-lost mother, avenge her father’s death, and find true love. As the richest, most beautiful and celebrated Ming Ji or “prestigious courtesan” in all of China, she just might have her way even if it comes with a devastating price…”

For more information on the novel, visit:






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