Wild Ginger uses personal stories to weave a political theme, but I found the work predictable from the moment we learn that the title character is given an unusual (for its time) name. Her mother sees an inner fire in her, and she does indeed burn fast and hot. She ultimately somewhat consumes her loyal "tree" friends Maple and Evergreen.
* Note 1: If you are interested in other works about China, and other parts of China, you might want to check out Reading the World by John Brookes. He read a book from each of the country's provinces. He also has a blog.