The English title of this book, which was first published in China, may put off readers unwilling to voluntarily subject themselves to 300-plus pages of someone else's suffering. That would be tragic, because they'd be missing out on a startling and remarkable odyssey, one that's both literary and personal. Su, a prominent journalist in China, was smuggled out of the country after making the government's "most wanted" list after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Two years later, his wife, Fu Li, and son joined him in the United States. Misfortune in the form of a devastating 1993 car accident that left Fu Li paralyzed and brain injured is at the core of Su's story. But in working through his guilt about the accident, he spirals outward and beyond it to explore differences between China and the U.S., political movements, love and spirituality. The latter discussion is especially enlightening. Su's reflections are a clear look at the way people without faith in God can find meaning in life through unimaginable tragedy and suffering. There are also some wonderfully pithy observations, particularly Su's discovery, when trying to buy a home, that "in the United States to clear your credit history is just as arduous as it is to remove a counterrevolutionary stigma in mainland China." Su makes regular references to Chinese literary and historical figures, but also provides lucid footnotes for the benefit of his Western readers. The translation is awkward at times, but because it heightens many of the points Su makes about differences in Western and Chinese culture, that awkwardness works to strengthen the overall effect of this powerful story. (Apr. 25)Forecast: This extraordinary memoir of both personal and national tragedy should find a large audience if it is widely reviewed, as it should be.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
While some of the many demonstrators at the Tiananmen Square uprising in 1989 were killed or went to prison, some escaped China and found asylum abroad. A journalist and producer for television in China who had gained some degree of fame, Su escaped to Paris, then made his way to the United States. He settled in Princeton, NJ, along with a number of other exiles, who formed a sort of Chinatown there. After many difficulties, he managed to bring over his wife, Fu Li, and son Su Dan, only to see her paralyzed in a horrific car accident exactly four years after the uprising. Touching and delicate, this memoir mostly recounts Su's doubts, fears, adjustments, reassessments, and, yes, gratitude. Unfortunately, the translation occasionally seems clumsy. Recommended for larger public libraries. Kitty Chen Dean, Nassau Coll., Garden City, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.