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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 10 reviews
on April 4, 2017
I am so happy to know this book. Each anecdote helps me to understand Modern Chinese history and cultural background.
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on August 2, 2013
The writing is comic book writing, and I was hoping for something that would sweep me away. I assumed it was directed at a younger audience because it is a comic book but the subject matter is complex and disturbing, without being redeeming in the end. I skimmed only, and was not drawn in. The book has gotten some good reviews, it is an expose of sorts, and highlights hypocrisy, moral corruption and disillusionment, on a personal scale, and I was hoping for something broad and sweeping. Perhaps the genre doesn't allow that sort of thing....
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on January 2, 2013
As a teacher of modern Chinese History, I cannot recommend this graphic novel too much both in terms of its content and the arresting quality of its graphic art. I have read few things that conveyed so well the tremendous changes endured (and also enjoyed) by the Chinese people over the last 64 years.
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on August 19, 2015
An autobiography that gives an interesting insight into China's history and its effect on the average Chinese. Political propoganda and nationalism is very destructive - not only to the individual, but the entire human community.
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VINE VOICEon January 3, 2015
I have read a number of memoirs from contemporary China, and Li Kunwu's co-authored with French writer Philippe Otie is by far the best. A Chinese Life is a massive book in size and scope. Starting in 1950, Li chronicles his parents and then his own life (Li was born in 1955). The family endures many of the traumas of the 20th century in China - the Great Leap forward, the Cultural Revolution, etc. However, because Li's father was a prominent Communist Party member, they initially fared well. However, since they came from so-called "bourgeois" family background, the Li's were not immune from the self-destructive forces that was feeding on society. Li was a talented artist, but he joined the army and was forced to temporarily abandon his drawing skills. He strove to become a member of the Party like his father. Finally, he is called again to return to his artistic roots in making propaganda posters. This leads to his longtime job with one of the local newspapers.

A couple of factors add to the uniqueness of this autobiography. Unlike many that are primarily set in Beijing or Shanghai, Li lives most of his life in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province. Although not exactly a backwater, Yunnan is a mountainous province and at 1300 miles away, Kunming is also quite removed from the hustle and bustle of the Eastern cities. Nevertheless, it is not immune either from the forces that are influencing the development of China.

A Chinese Life is a brilliant graphic novel. Li's black and white drawing style tells us so much more than a strictly text autobiography could. In addition, for Western readers, the illustrations are better able to show what the environment and surroundings were at the different eras. Indeed, this is one of the best graphic novels I have read. It deserves a Spinal Tap rating of 11. Li is such a talented artist, and he found the ideal writing partner in Otie, that together they have produced a book that marries the best of both worlds.

A Chinese Life captures the turmoil and change of the second half of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st in China like no other book has.
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on October 4, 2015
Beautiful and poignant. The struggle of a people and a nation. Right up there next to Persepolis.
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on January 13, 2016
Unbelievably fast, book is brand new. Great experience!
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