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A Comrade Lost and Found: A Beijing Memoir Paperback – February 2, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. As a young student, award-winning Canadian journalist Wong (Red China Blues) spent a year in Beijing on a foreign exchange program during the cultural revolution, and in this suspenseful, elegantly written book, she recounts her return to the city in an effort to find a former classmate she betrayed with grave consequences. As a fervent young Maoist eager to fit in with her compatriots, the author had voluntarily informed on Yin Luoyi, who had been interested in visiting America at a time when expressing approval for the imperialist running dogs could lead to expulsion, ostracism or worse; Yin was expelled from the school. Wong returns to a transformed Beijing. Gone is the semirural capital where the author's revolutionary course of study included bouts of hard labor and self criticism sessions. In its place are eight-lane expressways lit up like Christmas trees, shiny skyscrapers and the largest shopping mall in the world. Wong is a gifted storyteller, and hers is a deeply personal and richly detailed eyewitness account of China's journey to glossy modernity. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In the 1970s, Wong, a Canadian student with idealized views of Communist China, got the opportunity to study at Beijing University. Swallowing Mao’s doctrine hook, line, and sinker, Wong turned in a fellow student, Yin Luoyi, after the girl approached her about finding a way to get to the United States. In 2006, Wong—now a married journalist with two sons—travels with her family to Beijing with the intention of finding Yin, not an easy task in a country where people routinely change their phone numbers—and even their names. The journey takes Wong back into her past, as she reconnects with teachers and fellow students from Beijing University, and gives her a glimpse into the way the Chinese are rapidly and eagerly embracing capitalism and technology. It couldn’t have been easy for Wong to write a book about a shameful act from her youth, but she approaches the subject with courage, grace, and dignity, offering readers fresh insights into China and her people during the Cultural Revolution and today. --Kristine Huntley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
First, there's the obvious correlation of the previous story about ratting out her classmate. The follow-up is so great and really revealing. Wong's inner turmoil and guilt about the incident are relatable, making the urgency all that more serious.
Second, where "Red China Blues" showed the primitiveness and poverty of Cultural Revolution China, "A Comrade Lost and Found" contrasts that with the newfound wealth and rapid development of China. The contrast between the two Chinas is highlighted with poignancy and skill.
I cannot recommend these two books enough. They give such a great understanding of China and the Chinese people in the current era.
Case in point: in 2011 I went to the police station looking for a friend of my mother back in 1968. I only gave the cop his name, even unsure how he writes his given name due to homonym, where he used to work and approximate age.
Within a minute, they picked him out from the lineup fm the computer.
The next second, they called him up.
After three ring, he answered the call.
It was free, by the way. The streets, neighborhood and even city change frequently but the fundamentals such as police work doesn't.
I read this book while trying hard to silent a nagging doubt: given the fact that the author studied in China and worked there as a journalist, how could she not know the police will find the mate in a heartbeat? Private detective is so unChina.
Thank god the searching in the police station was short because the house was filled with idling smokers. I felt I needed a lung change afterward.
I don't know if it would have been easier to find her using other means (private detectives, via government back channels, etc), but I think either way it would have taken lots of resources and time. I doubt it was as easy as walking into a police station and file a report as stated by another reviewer.
I enjoyed reading her works because I like her witty writing styles. Of course her topics are also interesting (why else would I have bothered otherwise?).