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Dream Variations: A Journey Across Two Continents Kindle Edition

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Length: 143 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Dear Readers:

I hope you will enjoy reading my book, Dream Variations: A Journey Across Two Continents. It is five years behind schedule, five-year in the making, and six-month in the actual writing. I wanted to reflect on my life in the first 50 years, both here in the States and back in China, where I spent my first 32 years. But better late than never, so here I am sharing with you some of my life's experience as a daughter, mother, student, teacher, immigrant, and citizen both in China and in America. It has been a long and complex journey, full of heartaches, sorrows, happiness, and dreams.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Weihua Zhang

About the Author

Weihua Zhang, an English Professor and African American literary scholar, a published writer and photographer, lives in Savannah, Georgia. Zhang holds a doctoral degree in Humanistic Studies from SUNY Albany. Zhang has written articles on Asian- and African-American literature, exhibited her photographs in Savannah area galleries, and published creative non-fictions in People’s Daily, Overseas Edition---China’s leading newspaper. Her poem "Are You My Mother?" appeared in Offcourse, a Literary Journal in Fall 2006.

Product Details

  • File Size: 903 KB
  • Print Length: 143 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1478203803
  • Publication Date: September 5, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0096R1ISG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,150,440 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Hailed from People's Republic of China, Weihua Zhang received a Doctoral degree in Humanistic Studies from SUNY-Albany in 1996. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2002. Zhang is an English Professor and African American literary scholar, a published writer and photographer. Zhang lives in Savannah, Georgia. In 2003, Zhang ventured into photography and has exhibited her work in Savannah area galleries. Her black and white photographs have been featured frequently in Journal of Curriculum Theorizing. Her poem "Are You My Mother?" appeared in Offcourse, a Literary Journal in Fall 2006. Her nonfiction piece "Daughter of the Middle Kingdom" is included in the anthology Shifting Balance Sheets: Women's Stories of Naturalized Citizenship and Cultural Attachment, June 2011, Wishing Up Press, 223-29. Zhang enjoys reading, writing, traveling, taking photographs, and practicing yoga.

My book Dream Variations just made the Local Top 10 books list (Savannahnow.com, Nov.3, 2012)


Reviews:

Weihua Zhang writes a very honest and at times wrenching story of being an immigrant, a stranger, a student, a teacher, a daughter, a mother, and finally, a citizen of America. One of her book's most compelling themes is its insistence that becoming comfortable in her American skin is an unfinished project that has rested upon a process of both leaving and returning to her mainland Chinese homeland and family. Weihua's non-chronological, circular method of storytelling and her photographs that seamlessly interweave pictures of family members with her own artistic shots documenting Chinese and American culture reinforce her theme that her journey is still evolving and unfolding. She is also very aware that her story is as historic as it is personal. She evokes the memory of early Chinese immigrants who laid railroads across the American continent, calling them bridge builders "that linked the future generations of Chinese immigrants to the country's infinite possibilites." Weihua reckons that she, her husband, and her daughter are participants in an ongoing task of construction and transformation, where the bridges they are building stand on pillars composed of heritage, literature, art, and culture. (Barbara)

Weihua has presented a touching story about an immigrant's hardship in China during the Cultural Revolution and her journey in America as a successful Chinese American scholar. As millions of urban youth who are sent to the remote areas of China, Weihua has faced the harshness of working in a farm village. The mixed emotions and feelings are reminiscent of many Chinese youth at the time. Pursuing dreams in America, the author depicts her sacrifices and the struggles along the way. Weihua exemplifies many immigrants' experiences in a foreign land.
Weihua describes many heart wrenching and tender moments in the book. Her relationship with her mother and daughter, her husband's keen interest in building the Chinese furniture, and her love of photography are all portrayed vividly. The photos of her family and research draw the readers back in times. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in contemporary Chinese immigrants and their background in the home land. (Hua Jin)

Weihua Zhang's fine memoir tells the story of her "journey across two continents" and invokes poignant and painful memories of the people and nation she left behind. The chapters on China's Cultural Revolution are especially good. The writer owes it to herself and her readers to write a book-length autobiography of those years, when the private and the political intersected in new and strange ways. Among my favorite moments, and representative of how the writer lovingly portrays her mother: "During the Great Famine, Father often lamented over meals that there were two children too many in our household. One day, Mama decided that she had heard it enough. She raised a meat cleaver and calmly asked Father, 'Just tell me which two you don't want.' Father shut up right then and there." (George Williams)

Weihua has written a wonderful collection of essays, stories, and poems. Some brought tears to my eyes and all gave wonderful insight to her experience as a woman scholar, mother, immigrant, and daughter. Her piece on the Chinese countryside field work was especially poignant as was the time at Swarthmore College away from her beloved daughter back in China. Female readers will be empowered by Weihua's struggles and successes as a scholar who stays on her chosen path of African-American Literature. I highly recommend this book and am so proud to call Weihua a friend! (Yvonne)

The clarity of emotions and description of events make DREAM VARIATIONS a potential classic of the memoir of exile and discovery. The events and upheavals within China and America in the past half-century are reflected in the reconstructions of Weihua Zhang's experience of revolution, and trans-location.
Loves, deaths, child-raising, the pain of the demands of emotional, intellectual and academic honesty create a tapestry written with quiet humor, immense intelligence, and vital enthusiasms for creative joys which transcend the suffering one endures as a victim of geopolitics. DREAM VARIATIONS is a moving description of a desperate life both well-lived and deeply felt. (Steve)



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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By George Williams on November 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
Weihua Zhang's fine memoir tells the story of her "journey across two continents" and invokes poignant and painful memories of the people and nation she left behind. The chapters on China's Cultural Revolution are especially good. The writer owes it to herself and her readers to write a book-length autobiography of those years, when the private and the political intersected in new and strange ways.

Among my favorite moments, and representative of how the writer lovingly portrays her mother: "During the Great Famine, Father often lamented over meals that there were two children too many in our household. One day, Mama decided that she had heard it enough. She raised a meat cleaver and calmly asked Father, 'Just tell me which two you don't want.' Father shut up right then and there."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen D. Geller on November 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
The clarity of emotions and description of events make DREAM VARIATIONS a potential classic of the memoir of exile and discovery.
The events and upheavals within China and America in the past half-century are reflected in the reconstructions of Weihua Zhang's
experience of revolution, and trans-location.

Loves, deaths, child-raising, the pain of the demands of emotional, intellectual and academic honesty create a tapestry written with
quiet humor, immense intelligence, and vital enthusiasms for creative joys which transcend the suffering one endures as a victim of geopolitics.

DREAM VARIATIONS is a moving description of a desperate life both well-lived and deeply felt.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback
Weihua Zhang writes a very honest and at times wrenching story of being an immigrant, a stranger, a student, a teacher, a daughter, a mother, and finally, a citizen of America. One of her book's most compelling themes is its insistence that becoming comfortable in her American skin is an unfinished project that has rested upon a process of both leaving and returning to her mainland Chinese homeland and family. Weihua's non-chronological, circular method of storytelling and her photographs that seamlessly interweave pictures of family members with her own artistic shots documenting Chinese and American culture reinforce her theme that her journey is still evolving and unfolding. She is also very aware that her story is as historic as it is personal. She evokes the memory of early Chinese immigrants who laid railroads across the American continent, calling them bridge builders "that linked the future generations of Chinese immigrants to the country's infinite possibilites." Weihua reckons that she, her husband, and her daughter are participants in an ongoing task of construction and transformation, where the bridges they are building stand on pillars composed of heritage, literature, art, and culture.
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By Xiaorong Zhang on January 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
In her Dream Variations, Weihua shares her personal journey that has covered two continents and spanned about half century. In her book, Weihua revealed candidly her struggle and triumph, pain and happiness, hope and despair in her journey. Tears welled up in my eyes while reading her touching essays and poems. Weihua has made a tremendous sacrifice while pursuing her Ph.D. degree in the U.S., leaving her toddler daughter and husband behind as well as missing her mother's funeral.

Despite all the hardship, cultural barriers, and homesickness, Weihua has achieved a great deal in her adopted country, becoming an accomplished scholar, writer, and photographer. She also raised a well-rounded, beautiful, and successful daughter. It is truly a success story.

As an immigrant myself, I can identify with Weihua. Her experiences resonate powerfully with me. I highly recommend this book, especially to those who have left their home country to seek the American Dream.
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By Dean Lee on September 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dream Variations will inspire any young man or woman trying to make their way in today's world. It tells of a young village girl caught up in the Red Guards in China as she grows into womanhood and her struggle to educate herself and a better life. She marries, has a child and then has to leave her family when she is sent as an exchange teacher to America (the old Chinese used to call it Gold Mountain because many first came during the California gold rush). The youngest of four children she misses her mother who herself has had a hard battle to survive, sacrificing herself for her husband. Zhang blossoms in America, but at a cost when her beloved mother dies but she doesn't find out till months later because her father makes a tough love decision. It's a story of a contemporary woman torn between two countries. Wonderfully written so that you feel her soul.
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By Deyou Sha on January 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dream Variations, a collection of Zhang's creative nonfiction, poems, and essays, traces her journey from China to the U.S. as a student, scholar, immigrant, and citizen. The unique yet universal nature of her experience--loss of innocence, separation from loved ones, mother-daughter relationship, cultural shock, self-discovery, love and death, to name just a few--will touch the heart of every reader. There are no pompous words or lofty slogans, but a candid and unvarnished display of innocence, humility, grace, honesty, and hope.
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