A revelatory and disturbing portrait of China, this is Anchee Mins celebrated memoir of growing up in the last years of Maos China As a child, Min was asked to publicly humiliate a teacher at seventeen, she was sent to work at a labor collective Forbidden to speak, dress, read, write, or love as she pleased, she found a lifeline in a secret love affair with another woman Miraculously selected for the film version of one of Madame Maos political operas, Mins life changed overnight Then Chairman Mao suddenly died, taking with him an entire world This national bestseller and New York Times Notable Book is exceptional for its candor, its poignancy, its courage, and for its prose which Newsweek calls as delicate and evocative as a traditional Chinese brush painting....
|Publisher||:||Anchor Reprint edition April 11, 2006|
|Number of Pages||:||320 pages|
|File Size||:||681 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Red Azalea Reviews
My favorite book of all time. A very sad read. Brutally honest and stark. This book changed my outlook on life and made a lasting impact on my perception of many things, from when I first read it almost 20 years ago. I'm forever re-purchasing it when it inevitably goes missing after being loaned out to a friend. I can only assume they form the same deep attachment to the story as I have.
Anchee Min's story is astounding, not because there aren't thousands like it, but because it's written not from the perspective of "this is what happened when Mao ruled to the people at large" but from a personal, painful perspective in that Ms. Min chronicles her emotions and actions as though she were telling her diary what happened that day. The potent overtones of living a life of fear are gut-wrenching; I cannot imagine living in a place where nobody is an ally, justice does not exist, and evil men are obeyed to the letter according to their own whims. That people could live lives so ordered by terror and yet accept it to no end boggles my autonomous American mindset. A real-eye opener, so much that I can't seem to write a proper review in coherent sentences. Just, wow.
What a fantastic experience it was to read such a book. A private look into China during the sixties and early seventies which reveals a society more Orwellian than anyone could imagine. Nacho Min writes of a life filled with individual style and repression from a time when there was to be no individuality, lofty societal goals replaced by "Lord of the Flies" policies placed on billions of people. Ms Min's writing style is simplistic, consisting of short little sentences holding more power than much of the long verse I've read. You ARE Anchee Min as you read this book, which is a beautiful, brutal look at the strength of the individual.
This book, to me, started out with the current book-club favorite theme of 'overcoming a significant obstacle to grow and go to another country'. Please don't mind the tongue in cheek. Anyway, as it rolled along, I did find myself becoming engaged in and with the main character and beginning to know the folks around her. I ended up liking the book. Especially because it kind of proved that not everybody goes along societal upheaval: change is difficult for everybody everywhere. We don't change until we absolutely have to and even then, we do it reluctantly. What I found especially interesting is that the author and I are very close in age. Here in the United States, Black Americans were stepping up and facing the fight for our Civil Rights. In China, civil rights were diminishing painfully. I was wearing miniskirts and my afro and going to college; she, on the other hand, was really struggling to live. My family didn't have much but through education, I achieved access to whatever I wanted. Her family didn't have much but finally through education, she achieved access to whatever she wanted. I don't know that I could have lived the life she did, and she probably feels the same way.
Her struggle against the revolution, her country and herself.
Anchee Min has written a very honest and compelling personal
Anchee Min has been out there for a while now and the accolades have seemingly died off. This is unfortunate but mirrors the way American readers, at least, tend to mostly get caught up in the whatever is newest thing. Initially enthralled, we may now sadly have become inured to the way, like many of the Chinese writers of her (our) generation, Anchee Min will no doubt have to bear the burden of the cultural revolution for the rest of her days. That her books are one of the ways she works this out is inevitable. Infinitely and intimately personal, Min helps us to see our own fearful blindness, greed, lust, and envy, while simultaneously challenging us with hope. Red Azalea is just one of the true life stories she uses to capture what it is like to try and be a human being in our world in which, after all, no country is more than a generation away from yet another "cultural revolution." Would that we all could be so courageous.
Anchee Min has written a number of novels that could have been non-fiction if not for Mao's government. She no longer lives in China, but had the books not been fiction, she would have suffered greatly. Red Azalea was banned in China for years but is now sold there. It is an accurate portrayal of the damage Mao did to China in his early year's of power. His later years were awful, too, but he was better in between.