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Summer of Betrayal [Hardcover]

Hong Ying , Martha Avery
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Jun 1997
In the early hours of the morning, following the massacre in Tiananmen Square, a young poet, Lin Ying, flees the bullets, tanks and soldiers. When finally she arrives at the flat she shares with her lover Chen Yu, she finds him in bed with his estranged wife.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 183 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (5 Jun 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747532494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747532491
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 15.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 594,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Tiananmen Square receded as she put it farther and farther behind her. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Under the umbrella of political repression and the bloody crack down of Tianammen Square comes the sexual awakening of a young woman struggling against the misogynistic society and attitudes she despises. This is an extremely honest, open and sensual book, thankfully devoid of vulgarity or gratuitous sexual content. As Deng Xiao Ping's troops marched literally through the student demonstrators and subsequently imposed martial law in the insuing months, the heroine, poet Lin Ying flees along with her collegues, although her feeling of isolation persist. This is emphasised by Lin's discovery of her lover in the arms of his estranged wife whom he claims to be divorcing. Lin Ying then sets about her own life and choices made free of guilt or the binds of a jealous, possesive partner. At times her actions and thoughts come across as self indulgent to the point of being irritating. But to judge would be to miss the point entirely. The self discovery that occurs culminates with the assertion that whilst you can imprison the body, the mind and soul will always remain free.
A colleague urges Lin Ying to move abroad with her, stating; "You could write your poetry abroad. At least if you wanted to you could: freedom is a precious thing." To which she replies; "Here (in China) there are people listening, but one can't speak. There one can speak, but nobody listens," -a truly damning indictment of western values and apathy as much as it is against China's supression of its own people's thoughts and ideas.
The climactic ending is one not to be missed, where whilst not every reader will enojoy it, it is unlikely to be equalled in its open or unapologetic sensuality.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Under the umbrella of political repression and the bloody crack down of Tianammen Square comes the sexual awakening of a young woman struggling against the misogynistic society and attitudes she despises. This is an extremely honest, open and sensual book, thankfully devoid of vulgarity or gratuitous sexual content. As Deng Xiao Ping's troops marched literally through the student demonstrators and subsequently imposed martial law in the ensuing months, the heroine, poet Lin Ying flees along with her colleagues, although her feeling of isolation persist. This is emphasised by Lin's discovery of her lover in the arms of his estranged wife whom he claims to be divorcing. Lin Ying then sets about her own life and choices made free of guilt or the binds of a jealous, possessive partner. At times her actions and thoughts come across as self-indulgent to the point of being irritating. But to judge would be to miss the point entirely. The self-discovery that occurs culminates with the assertion that whilst you can imprison the body, the mind and soul will always remain free.
A colleague urges Lin Ying to move abroad with her, stating; "You could write your poetry abroad. At least if you wanted to you could: freedom is a precious thing." To which she replies; "Here (in China) there are people listening, but one can't speak. There one can speak, but nobody listens," -a truly damning indictment of western values and apathy as much as it is against China's suppression of its own people's thoughts and ideas.
The climactic ending is one not to be missed, where whilst not every reader will enjoy it, it is unlikely to be equalled in its open or unapologetic sensuality...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Just another student romance 19 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was expecting more light on the Tiananmen incident, but the focus was on student 'romance'. Author has a flowing style but a little 'overwritten' in places
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From political/social repression come self/sexual discovery. 7 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Under the umbrella of political repression and the bloody crack down of Tianammen Square comes the sexual awakening of a young woman struggling against the misogynistic society and attitudes she despises. This is an extremely honest, open and sensual book, thankfully devoid of vulgarity or gratuitous sexual content. As Deng Xiao Ping's troops marched literally through the student demonstrators and subsequently imposed martial law in the insuing months, the heroine, poet Lin Ying flees along with her collegues, although her feeling of isolation persist. This is emphasised by Lin's discovery of her lover in the arms of his estranged wife whom he claims to be divorcing. Lin Ying then sets about her own life and choices made free of guilt or the binds of a jealous, possesive partner. At times her actions and thoughts come across as self indulgent to the point of being irritating. But to judge would be to miss the point entirely. The self discovery that occurs culminates with the assertion that whilst you can imprison the body, the mind and soul will always remain free.
A colleague urges Lin Ying to move abroad with her, stating; "You could write your poetry abroad. At least if you wanted to you could: freedom is a precious thing." To which she replies; "Here (in China) there are people listening, but one can't speak. There one can speak, but nobody listens," -a truly damning indictment of western values and apathy as much as it is against China's supression of its own people's thoughts and ideas.
The climactic ending is one not to be missed, where whilst not every reader will enojoy it, it is unlikely to be equalled in its open or unapologetic sensuality.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-written and insightful novel 8 Nov 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a well-written and meaningful novel. It is primarily about the experience of a woman, much more than it is about the experience of being in 1989 Beijing. The poet Lin Ying's journey is a series of painful disillusionments that many readers will readily identify with. The manner in which she gains strength and ultimately transcends the bleak world around her may be incomprehensible to some men and objectionable to some women, but will be powerful to the sensitive reader. Admittedly, Lin Ying's view of her world is unfamiliar to me as a man - which is the primary reason I found this book to be so worthwhile.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Good Reflection of Chinese Student Dreams, But .... 25 May 2001
By Robert Shepherd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Hong Ying's novel should be a must read for anyone interested not just in 'what happened' in Beijing in 1989 but more importantly why 'nothing much' has happened in the twelve years since then. Ying's book is, I think, an accurate account of how a certain class of students and intellectuals saw themselves: as both heroic dare-devils willing to put all on the line and as alienated individualists. In short, they were as much about playing out roles of the alienated 'artist' as they were about bringing change to China - a big reason why peasants never supported these urban rebels. As another reviewer mentioned, getting naked at a party, having sex with several men in unison, and then getting arrested does not a rebel make. Ying's characters make sense when we consider what urban China has become today: a place where money matters more than student rebels, and where yesterday's rebels have made their actions in the summer of 1989 the basis for careers in Western countries playing the role of Chinese student heroes while forever fighting amongst themselves about who was more heroic in May-June 1989 (sounds a lot like how Chinese Communist Party cadres used to act). I would recommend reading Ying's novel in tandem with David Kwan's *Broken Portraits*, an account of Kwan's students who took part in the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.The difference is that Kwan describes real heroes: simple kids who had longings they could not necessarily describe related to a desire to, in the words of one of his students, 'live'.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About 1989, but more about the decades leading up to it. 23 May 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I loved this book, just like I loved Hong Ying's other novels. What was 1989 about? Read "Summer of Betrayal", and if you don't get it, and you still want to know, read "Daughter of the River". It is Hong Ying's autobiography, written a few years later than "Summer". Still, "Summer of Betrayal" is like an echo of "Daughter of the River". "Daughter of the River" is about growing up in Chongqing, a city of extremes. It is a voice from the labourers who didn't profit by the so-called Communist revolution. You learn about what happened in the 50s, and before. You learn about the famine. You learn about the 60s and 70s. Cannibalism. Boys executed for homosexuality. Civil war. "Summer of Betrayal" is beautiful and terrible. It doesn't care what you think. The same goes for every novel by Hong Ying. 1989 was about everything that happened since the 30s, at least. Nobody seems to have said that clearly. How do you talk about China in a way that avoids cliche? To read Hong Ying is to listen to voices that have always been there, only they are not what you've been told. You start thinking of the past. What happened? Not 1989, but 1937, for example? Read "K", it has just come out in English, ... "K" and "Daughter of the River" are available in every bookstore in China. They are not about 1989. But they are about everything that led up to it. Sexual pretense is part of the face of China, or of any country, that doesn't want you to remember, to ask your parents, to keep asking what happened. Hong Ying's books are beautiful, and terrible. Look for the short stories, too. One is about an old Chinese opera and a modern French writer who taught in Nanjing in the 1960s, when De Gaulle had taken up diplomatic relations with the PRC. In today's Paris, a Chinese man tries to meet this writer, and to remember what happened there at the university. Paris becomes Nanjing. But it is harder to meet again the person that he was. Do you know what I mean? It is terrible. And you know that these things have happened. Hong Ying always takes her stories from real events. There is one about a Chinese-English Red Guard who blows himself up with a house full of hippies in London. It is a true story. Hong Ying got a prize for it in England. "Summer of Betrayal" is a good way to start reading Hong Ying. There have to be people who don't understand her. I wonder what people seek for in literature. There have been few books, in any language, about any topic, that have moved me like Hong Ying's.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous. Poetic...succcint, beautiful writing...unbelievable piece of writing A MUST READ. 27 Feb 2014
By MG - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Extremely interesting and sensual tale of a woman who grew up during the great famine of the first half of the 20th century in China and later lived through, and to tell the tale of, the Chinese Cultural Revolution from her very unique perspective...that of a person who has lived through Hell twice...starvation, poverty, oppression, hopelessness...an emotional yet incredibly disciplined experiencer of a terribly difficult life which has forged out an incredible writer...a person who found the poetry during this time and began writing it down...who began experiencing carnal pleasures and making beautiful, radical art during this terribly repressed time... It is wonderfully written and much different than anything you will ever read. No condescending author is Ying Hong; she holds nothing back. I feel the writing, in its poetic brevity and unique, interesting command of words, could improve a person's own writing, to all the authors and authoresses out there who love a marvelous read! You will learn about two of the most incredible and terrible points in history. It's a very short book.

IMPORTANT: I do recommend Ms. Hong's later novel, "Daughter of The River", to be read first! That novel explains the first part of the life of the character you will meet in "Summer of Betrayal" and makes "Summer" so much more easy to understand since "Summer" takes place later in the character's adult life. Enjoy :)
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