Daughter of the River

Hong, Ying

Published by Trafalgar Square, 1998
ISBN 10: 0747539839 / ISBN 13: 9780747539834
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Synopsis: A portrait of a young girl growing up in Mao's China. Born into a slum in 1962 during the Great Famine, Hong Ying describes her life, including the mystery which surrounded her early life, her parents, the death of her lover and child and her eventual move to London from China after the events in Tian'anmen Square.

From the Back Cover: Hong Ying's Daughter of the River is a remarkable book-a memoir of China unlike any we have seen before. Acclaimed around the world, it is both a compelling self-portrait by a remarkable writer and an unforgettable expos of life at the bottom of Chinese society. Hong Ying was born during the Great Famine of the early 1960s, which claimed the lives of tens of millions, including several of her relatives. Growing up in a slum on the bank of the Yangtze River, in a neighborhood veiled in fog and superstition, she was constantly aware of the sacrifices her family made so that she would survive. And as she neared her eighteenth birthday, she became determined to unravel some of the enigmas that had troubled her all her life: a stalker who had shadowed her since childhood, an anomalous record in her father's government file, and an unshakable feeling that she was an outsider in her own family.

At the same time, she began a relationship with a history teacher at her school, who awakened her to the possibility of dissent and to her own emerging womanhood. But, as she learned, the truth cuts both ways. While the professor taught her how to think outside the borders the government had set, he himself was under political pressure that would prove unbearable.

Hong Ying's search for truth led to the discovery of family secrets that changed her life-and her perceptions of her parents, her sister, and herself-tragically and irrevocably. But these same events also set her free to leave home for good and become a writer. With raw intensity and fearless honesty, Daughter of the River follows China's trajectory through one woman's life, from the Great Famine through the Cultural Revolution to Tiananmen Square.

"A raw powerful memoir . . . Her book is a rigorously honest, sometimes cruelly frank portrayal of a young woman's mind and body subjected both to a poor and to a loveless world."-Richard Bernstein, The New York Times

"This remarkable account of a childhood spent on the banks of the Yangtze River, which carried both precious food and the corpses of murdered dissenters past the author's tiny house, explores the depths and civil repression with an almost brutal grace."-The New Yorker

"The story of one person's awakening but also of a society's. In its stark and detailed portrayal of unremitting poverty and of the stress and intimacies of family life, the work is reminiscent of Angela's Ashes. . . . A major writer emerges here, combining flawlessly the often broken dreams of youth and the usually broken dreams of politics."-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Comparisons with Jung Chang's Wild Swans will be inevitable but Hong Ying's book more closely resembles Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, in which histories are brought to light and reminiscences are contrasted fascinatingly with the present. . . . Heartbreaking."-The Times (London)

"Harrowing reading. Her tale does not only reveal the collective scars on China's psyche; darker, more personal secrets haunt this daughter. . . . Hong Ying's autobiography brings out the naked truth about those at the bottom end of Chinese society, grappling to eke out a living in the shifting currents of political turmoil."-The Independent on Sunday (London)

"We are permanently reminded of the horrors of modern Chinese history. . . . A moving book which will bring tears to the eyes."-The Spectator (London)

"Raw . . . Hong Ying [has a] novelist's eye for detail and forthright approach to her country and countrymen. . . . A heart-wrenching story, and it is difficult to read of her need for dreams, for brightness and color in her life, without being moved."-Literary Review (London)

"An astonishing picture of inner fortitude marshaled against insult and injury amid the turmoil and repression-both political and emotional-of mid-century China."-Publishers Weekly

Hong Ying was born into a sailor's family in 1962 in the city of Chongqing, China. In January 1989 she entered the Lu Xun Writers' Academy in Beijing. She left China to study in London in 1991. She is also the author of seven collections of stories and novellas, four poetry collections, and two other novels. Summer of Betrayal, her first novel, has been translated into ten languages.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Daughter of the River
Publisher: Trafalgar Square
Publication Date: 1998
Book Condition: Good
Edition: 1St Edition.

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