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Brushstrokes in Time Paperback – January 6, 2016

4.9 out of 5 stars 17 ratings

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$19.18 $5.98

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Editorial Reviews


'Brushstrokes in Time narrates a compelling story. Rooted in history with richly imagined settings and unforgettable characters, this novel presents a vivid picture of what life was like in China during the Cultural Revolution.' Shrenik Rao,

'Sylvia Vetta evokes in her lively narrative China's turbulent political culture of the '70 and '80s, when China's youth struggled for self-expression against official censure. Whether describing how students were "sent to the countryside" in the Cultural Revolution or how, after Mao died, young artists hung their experimental work outside the national art gallery, Vetta is always accurate with a grasp of vivid detail.' John Gittings, Guardian's chief foreign journalist specialising in China

'Weaving real events and Stars artists (including Ai WeiWei) with the fictional, this moving story shines a light on the internal workings of China and gives us an engaging heroine who rises above oppression to discover love, hope and success.' Frank Sieren, Asia Expert

'Moving but never mawkish... A deeply informed portrayal of the little-known but important Stars Arts Movement.' Prof Maria Jaschok, Oxford University

About the Author

Freelance writer, author and speaker, Sylvia Vetta took up writing and broadcasting on art and antiques in 1998 when she began writing features for the award winning magazine of The Oxford Times. She went on to write for four magazines on art, history and science-related events. Sylvia Vetta has a lifelong passion for China. Her extensive interviews with Stars art movement founder, Qu Leilei, inspired her to write Brushstrokes in Time. Her long-running profile series, Oxford Castaways, has been compiled into two books. Reflecting her interest in China, castaway interviewees have included Lord Patten of Barnes, the last governor of Hong Kong; Dame Jessica Rawson, the curator of prestigious exhibitions on China; Dr Maria Jaschok, who lived in China from 1979-1995; and Oxford-based artist Weimin He.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Claret Press (January 6, 2016)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 204 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1910461091
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1910461099
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 9.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.83 x 0.47 x 8.27 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.9 out of 5 stars 17 ratings

About the author

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For 20 years Sylvia wrote the life stories of others including 120 Oxford Castaways for The Oxford Times turned into 3 books and three novels inspired by real events and real people. Sylvia says ‘It’s been difficult writing about myself but a memoir is not an autobiography & Atam let me tell his refugee story too'.

Food of Love cooking up a story across gender class and race has glowing endorsements from historian Rana Mitter, journalist Yasmin Alibhai Brown, Professor of Education at Oxford Brookes Dr Jane Spiro, and Dr Flair Donglai Shi, Associate Professor of World Literature, Shanghai Jiaotong University and more. I’m delighted that artist Diana Bell says amusing and entertaining because I don’t want anyone to reach the end and not feel HOPE!

Brushstrokes in Time is a fictional memoir set against real events. Little Winter, tries to re-establish the bond with her American daughter, telling the story of her emotional and rebellious past. While growing up in China, Little Winter discovers talent and rebellion, joining ‘The Stars’ art movement for freedom of speech in an era where self-expression and love were a dangerous act. Filmmaker Andy Cohen found 40 minutes of contemporary film about the Stars. (1979) Watch the trailer on this link.

Praise for Brushstrokes in Time

Shrenik Rao: editor of the Madras Courier ‘A brilliant compelling read.’

John Gitting: the former chief foreign correspondent of The Guardian was determined to find fault but failed and says ‘Vetta is always accurate with a grasp of vivid detail.’

Dr Jenny Lewis: internationally respected poet ‘It has to be among my top ten historical novels, certainly of this century. Utterly mesmerising and unforgettable.’

Lady Moyra Bannister: ‘ Absolutely Brilliant.’

Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5
17 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

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Top reviews from other countries

Tobias C
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a good story
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4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging,deeply moving historical novel
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Gina Marsh
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and well-researched
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Ray Foulk
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book
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Josh H.
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