Gong Xi Fa Cai! And welcome to the year of the Rooster.
We’ve got many excellent books about China here in the library. I’m going to highlight just a few that are either by Chinese authors, or about China, or both. We’ll start with a quick and easy read by a young American student of Chinese culture.
If you haven’t yet read this memoir, you’re in for a treat! In the 1980’s, Mark, a graduate student at Yale, goes to China to teach English and study Kung Fu. He lives in the city of Changsha for two years. The New York Times remarked that his stories of that time “Take the form of a series of lightly sketched episodes; almost without exception they produce the gulp of feeling you might get from an unusually fine short story…”
And here’s a work of fiction, a modern bestseller by a Chinese author. During the Cultural Revolution, young people were sent to the countryside to be “reeducated” and work with the poor. In Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, we meet two of these young people. The young men have been exiled to a remote mountain village. Western literature, like all western art, is strictly forbidden. The students change a young woman’s life, and their own, by introducing her to forbidden stories.
Wild Swans is nonfiction. Jung Chang’s memoir covers almost fifty years of Chinese history and the lives of three women: her grandmother, a concubine who escaped ; her mother, the wife of a fervent communist who nonetheless suffered in the cultural revolution, and herself. Ms. Jung escaped China in 1978 and now lives with her family in London.
Like Wild Swans, The Kitchen God’s Wife deals with family history and women’s lives. Winnie is a Chinese immigrant; her daughter Pearl, was born in America. Relations between them have been strained. But as Winnie begins to tell of her past in China before and during WWII, Pearl starts to find a new understanding of her mother.
Li grew up in an impoverished peasant family. When his talent was discovered, the state trained him as a ballet dancer. Then, in 1979, he was selected to spend a summer in Houston, and his life changed dramatically. He fell in love with an American woman. Readers have praised this book’s honesty and its depiction of life in rural China.
These are just a few of the books we have; we’ve got e-books and media as well. Just click on any of the book covers to go to our catalog. See you in the library!
Oh, one more thing:
Happy Groundhog Day from Phil and his friends!