A true story of cultural clash and hedonism gone awry as a good girl from a conservative Chinese-Australian family becomes a Shanghai showgirl.
From Sydney suburbia to the grey clouds of London, Jenevieve Chang has been running away for as long as she can remember. Now – along with other Westerners trying to escape the 2008 GFC – she has arrived in Shanghai, a city from her family’s past. But this glittering metropolis once known as the ‘Whore of the Orient’ throws up more hurdles than she bargains for.
As her marriage collapses and she struggles to fit in with this over-the-top new world, Jenevieve searches for a place to call home. And then she finds it: Chinatown, Shanghai’s first Vaudeville, Variety and Burlesque Club. She will remake herself as one of the Chinatown Dolls, the most sought-after showgirls in town.
When the club begins to spectacularly derail, though, and with memories of the past pressing in, Jenevieve finds herself more lost than ever. Struggling with her identity amid the hedonism and history of Shanghai, she realises that she’s following in the footsteps of her parents and her grandparents in unexpected ways she hadn’t realised. Now she must decide between the pleasure of propping up illusions or the possible redemption of facing up to her past.
Vibrant, bold and raw, The Good Girl of Chinatown is a memoir weaving multiple narratives across three generations and continents. It is a story about the boundaries we choose to cross and the roles we choose to play. And it is a story about family and the ways we try – but sometimes fail – to be good for them.
About the Author
Jenevieve Chang was born in Taiwan, and has lived in Australia, China and the UK. She trained at the Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Central School of Speech and Drama. Between 2008-2010, Jenevieve worked for China’s first Vaudeville-style Burlesque club. Returning to Australia, Jenevieve performed her family stories in Performance 4a’s Stories Then and Now for the Sydney Writer’s Festival 2013. Jenevieve was the Senior Course Manager at the National Institute of Dramatic Art for four years, and recently starred in The Peasant Prince, the stage adaptation of Mao’s Last Dancer.
‘Jenevieve Chang is a natural storyteller, and her absorbing memoir – spanning China, Britain and Australia – is told with grace, precision and unmatched elegance.’
"Jenevieve weaves together a story of intergenerational trauma, loss and culture into an unexpectedly wild journey across the world. You will find her vulnerability and spirit hard to put down."
Deng Adut (writer, Songs of a War Boy.)
"I was blown away by Jenevieve Chang's beautiful, ballsy memoir. Gorgeously written and fascinating.....she's a natural storyteller."
Leanne Hall (writer, This is Shyness)
"Gripping, honest and brave, Jenevieve’s memoir gives a uniquely personal insight into the hidden hedonism of modern day China and a life lived between cultures."
Clare Atkins (writer, Nona and Me)
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 1st May 2017
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.3 x 15.4 x 2.9
Weight (kg): 0.38