Grace: An American Woman's Forty Years in China, 1934-1974

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9781569473146: Grace: An American Woman's Forty Years in China, 1934-1974

In 1928, Grace Divine, daughter of a conservative Chattanooga family, came to New York City, accompanied by her mother, to study opera singing. Liu Fu-chi, a scholarship student studying engineering at Columbia, lived in the same building. They met. They became friends. Only after Fu-chi left for further study in Germany did they realize they had fallen in love.

Fu-chi renounced his scholarship and returned to New York. They became engaged. An interracial marriage was illegal in Tennessee; her brothers came to intervene. Nonetheless, in 1932 at the height of the Depression, Grace and Fu-chi went to City Hall and were married.

He left for China to look for a job. Pregnant, Grace stayed behind. Then, when the baby could travel, she went to join her husband in Tientsin. She was to remain in China for the next forty years, through the Japanese Occupation, the fall of the Nationalist Government and the Cultural Revolution.

This biography, composed in large part of Grace Liu's letters and the memoir she began, has been compiled by her cousin, Eleanor McCallie Cooper, who lives in Chattanooga and her surviving child, William Liu, who now lives in Vancouver.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Eleanor McCallie Cooper is Grace Divine Liu's cousin. She lives in Chattanooga. William Liu, Grace's surviving child, now lives and teaches in Vancouver.

From Publishers Weekly:

"May you live in interesting times" goes the Chinese blessing, especially apt for the life of Grace Divine Liu (1901-1979), a Tennessee native who, while living in China, witnessed the Japanese occupation, the Communist revolution, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. As this biography by Grace's cousin Cooper and her son Liu explains, Grace's own leap from Chattanooga, Tenn., to China began in 1926, when she moved to Manhattan at the age of 25 to pursue a singing career. There she met Liu Fu-chi, a Chinese engineering student at Cornell. The improbable couple nearly broke up under pressure from the two disapproving families, but ended up marrying and raising three children in his native land. They lived in the foreign-controlled territory of Tientsin, where Grace was one of a handful of Westerners to watch semicolonial China melt away and, later, to see all things Western or "bourgeois" purged under Mao. When her husband died in 1955, she supported herself by teaching English at Nankai University, and was briefly arrested during the Cultural Revolution for corresponding with foreign academics. Told mostly through Grace's captivating, humorous letters and the articles she wrote for American newspapers and journals, the book sketches Grace's daily life and her changing views of the Communist government. It reveals a life of remarkable good cheer despite harassment, chronic food rationing and illness. B&w photos.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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