Li Mo Spirit Bridges

ISBN 13: 9780615294971

Spirit Bridges

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( 9 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780615294971: Spirit Bridges

This is a life-affirming memoir, filled, like dumplings in a rich, percolating soup, with flavorful and surprising experience, generously ladled to the reader's welcoming bowl.

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About the Author:

Born in Shanghai, Li Mo escaped China in 1952 after the civil war and eventually made her way to the U.S. in 1960. She has lived and worked in Cambridge, MA for over 3 decades where she raised 3 children. She holds an M.A. in Theater and Education from Goddard College in Vermont and an M.F.A. from Emerson College in Creative Writing.
Li Mo has worked with Peter Schuman's Bread and Puppet Theatre and studied with Reality Theatre-Gurdinieze, Japanese Kyogen Players and with Joan Halifax on Shamanism, Buddhism and the Sun Dance Teachings of the Native Americans.

Review:

Spirit Bridges is a deeply moving and intimate chronicle of Li Mo's long journey to America. Born in China, on the eve of the Cultural Revolution, Li is the daughter of one of China's first woman journalists. She recalls her tumultuous early years, including her father's disappearance and subsequent execution by the government, through the eyes of a child. The mother is a daunting figure in this book: skillful, disciplined, terrifying, beautiful. She is awesome, seen through her daughter's eyes, wielding a power of performance and words to which the young Mo feels she can not aspire. A wild, misfit girl, deeply rooted in the world of the senses, Li struggles painfully in school despite her mother's literary and journalistic achievements. After being smuggled out of China by her mother in a dangerous journey, she finds herself alone in Madrid by the time she is ten caring for three young brothers while her mother makes a first trip to the United States. She dreams of the day her mother will return to bring them to 'Gold Mountain'. Her mother's letters sustain her, promising a new life of ease and plenty, but once they have made the final journey, the reality of their life in a Lower East Side tenement is stark. Mo struggles for self-expression throughout her life - to find a language she can both speak and understand. Ultimately, she does find a use for words--the poetry of this memoir is testament to that. But she finds her voice also in the beauty and wonder of the natural world and through her own development as a visual artist: 'The blank paper was a cloud shifting... Painting became a healing language. Colors softened a world filled with dangerous warnings' Spirit Bridges is a wild ride of changes in one woman's life - both internally and in the world around her. It is story of finding one's voice in a constantly shifting, sometimes terrifying world. Through it, we come to know a woman with a playful spirit and a keen longing for and sensitivity to beauty, pain, and, joy. --Rama Williams

In Spirit Bridges, Li Mo undertakes a personal odyssey against the background of flight from Mao's China, the beauty and mystery of a child's world in Taiwan, then a rural, undeveloped island refuge, her family's sojourn in Spain during its struggle with fascism, and coming of age in New York, at the height of the political upheavals of the 1960s. She must find words in a new language ("English was like sawdust in my mouth"), cope with the depression of her widowed mother, a gifted journalist in exile, face the fear and fascination of a violent yet intensely creative urban American culture, and discover at last her own voice through arts, storytelling, and the writing of this absorbing book. --Elena Harap, author, poet and actor

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Li Mo
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