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Three hanky

[ 2009-08-25 10:28]     字号 [] [] []  
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Three hanky

Nancy Matos

Reader question: The list author says: "This one's a three hanky novel."

Could you explain “three hanky”?

My comments: Something that is sad and prone to bring someone to tears is referred to as “three hanky”, more commonly when discussing books and film. A “three hanky” novel or movie usually involves epic romance, drama and loss; another similar term is “tearjerker”. A hanky is a cloth people carry with them in their pocket or purse to use when blowing their nose or wiping away tears, so needing three hankies would imply that something is very sad indeed.

Famous “three hanky” books include “Gone With The Wind”, written by Margaret Mitchell in 1936, “The English Patient” by Michael Ondaatje and “The Joy Luck Club” by American-Chinese author Amy Tan. Incidentally, all three of these novels have been adapted into Hollywood movies. The “three hanky” film is a popular movie genre, especially with women (you’d be hard-pressed to find a man who actually admitted to crying during “The English Patient”).

Although women seem to grab “three hanky” novels off bookstore shelves and rush to movie theatres to watch tearjerker films more often than men, a number of men are responsible for putting those “three hanky” tales out there, funnily enough. American writer Larry McMurtry wrote the tear-inducing 1975 novel “Terms of Endearment” which later became an Oscar-winning movie, still making people cry over the years on DVD. And the biggest “three hanky” producer of novels and cinema in recent times is another male—Nicholas Sparks. The author, also from the US, tends to weave tragedy, death and love into his works. His novel “The Notebook” had a huge following and the film it was based on made stars out of Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. “Message In A Bottle” and “A Walk To Remember”, which like the others, were made into hit Hollywood movies, also made people run for their tissues.


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About the author:

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.