The Ghost Bride: A Novel

The Ghost Bride: A Novel - Yangsze Choo The Chinese tradition of a ghost (or posthumous) marriage is, as far as I know, confined to those who practice the Taoist 'faith'. I shall not expound on the cultural and anthropological reasons for this, as this information can readily be found online. In this story, a marriage is being arranged between a young girl and a deceased young man from a rich family, in order that the girl will not live out the rest of her live in debt and poverty.

This story caught my attention, because firstly, it is set in Malacca, a state in my home country, in the 19th Century, and it also mentions some Peranakan culture. Furthermore, as a child, I had witnessed an extended ceremony in which paper effigies, (hell) money, mockups of material possessions, etc. were burned for the use of the decedent in the afterlife. The rituals fascinated me then, and I was intrigued by the symbolism of the rites.

While this book starts out with a historical context, it gradually turns otherworldly (a bit on the side of magical realism) -- it might be a tad macabre for some, but it's not scary -- more like, steeped in cultural belief and superstition. I enjoyed this book because I'd read many novels with various other afterlife myths (Greek and Egyptian, for example), but this is a first for me, with regards to Chinese mythology.