Customer Reviews

33
4.0 out of 5 stars
Red Azalea
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:£7.99+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 2003
For a start the book's jacket told me all that would happen, it just took a very long time to get there. Min is very fond of metaphors! Her metaphorical descriptions just were too many and too frequent for me. I know from the book jacket that she is going to have an affair with her commander at the farm she had been assigned to, Min built up and built up her feelings in the run up to the affair so much, that I had lost interest by the time it happened. There is a very interesting in-sight into the life of a peasant in Communist China, but it gets lost in the descriptive ramble.
I would have to say there are better books about this time in China, such as Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah, but if you go for this book, I suggest you don't read the synopsis first! It is one of the few books, that I was relieved to reach the end of.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 7 April 2012
Prompt delivery, book was in very good condition. I was totally absorbed in the book from start to finish. I thought it was an incredulous story, which gave a detailed insight into the lives of The Chinese during the Cultural Revolution - in particular the Author. What an incredible time she endured in the labour camp. This was a thoroughly educational book for anyone who is interested in fairly recent Chinese history. Highly recommended.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2001
I am 14 years old and have read this book for a high school project on china i was assigned. The book was discriptive and extremelly well written. I would recomend it for people of all ages.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2013
This is history at its best. The true story as seen and lived through - and one that is so rarely acknowledged!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 7 January 2012
Of you like the other books from AnnChe Min you will love this one too, it is very different from the empress orchid books, but read inconjunction with Madame Mao it is brilliant, I read Madame Mao before this and feel that I was able to understand certain aspects of the story to a deeper level.if you love the oriental culture and history of this period then you will like this book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2000
I was given this book for Christmas and ended up reading it through the after dinner lull, through the night and for part of Boxing Day. I would never have dreamed that a story of oppression in Communist China could be exciting and thrilling to the point of erotically charged.. but it is. The solidarities and alienations.. you can pick them out of the page almost. Reading the book left me feeling that I had.. almost... touched something. It's funny, sad.. all those thing. Ace.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 26 June 2013
A close look at the life and hardships of a young girl growing into womanhood in China during the eighties. Showing the resilience needed to survive that extreme environment with its paranoia, mind control, and constant surveillance. Never knowing who you could trust to express your real feelings to, a mistake could mean death or life long hardship.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 January 2006
Anchee Min's book about her life during and after the Cultural Revolution is rather naive. She doesn't even mention the real reason behind the CR, namely the fact that Mao lost the majority in the Central Committee and unleashed the youth in order to regain his power, causing millions of deaths (see Simon Leys: The new Clothes of Chairman Mao.)
The only comment on the CR in this book reads as follows:'Jiang Ching's unfulfilled desire ... that made ancient tragedies stir the souls and foster civilizations. And it was that very same desire that sparkled the flame of the Great Cultural Revolution.'(p.250)
This comment is also an extremely flattery (an euphemism) portrait of Mrs. Mao ('She was a heroine.' p. 243), while it was not a secret that she took control of the Cultural Ministry to take revenge (by tortures and assassinations) on all people (e.g. movie directors) who had refused to give her major roles in their movies.
As a member of the Gang of Four she tried to take Mao's place after his death. For a formidable portrait of Mrs. Mao I recommend Lucien Bodard's masterpiece 'Le Chien de Mao'.
The work camp scenes, the erotic encounters and the mass rally to insult a forged 'class enemy' are more convincing. They show us that each member of the Red Guard had to loose its individuality and privacy (no sex, no secrecy, no free speech, mass confessions) and had to be a 'cog in a big revolutionary machine'. It was a jail life under the iron fist of the proletarian revolution with the slogan 'killing the chickens to shock the monkeys'.
But underneath the 'purity' of the revolutionaries we discover jealousies, drive for power and dominance, manipulations, fierce competition, fear and lies. The author herself is far from innocent: 'I am my ambition.' (p. 245)
Overall, the atmosphere in this book is rather sentimental and not without a certain narcissism. Also, the sudden change in the character of one of the main players seems extraordinary.
This is certainly, and by far, not the best book on the Cultural Revolution or on the work camps.
Therefore I can recommend two masterpieces: Nieng Cheng's 'Life and Death in Shanghai' ( a moving and inhumanly biting biography of an innocent woman caught in a political quagmire) and Xianliang Zhang's 'Half Man is Woman' (a formidable tale about work camp inmates and an in depth analysis of the gender battle).
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 12 April 2014
I read Red Azalea in a weekend, in between bike rides and runs in the Andes. I could feel my heart breaking as the words swept by. I didn't want the book to end, but at the same time wanted it all to be over as soon as possible. I would love for everyone to read this book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Thought provoking and unusual perspective on the period in China often referred to as the cultural revolution. Anchee Min's narrative is both sensitive and poignant. I found the parallel with George Orwell's Animal farm difficult to shake off. An excellent read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
The Last Empress
The Last Empress by Anchee Min (Paperback - 7 April 2008)
£6.39

Empress Orchid
Empress Orchid by Anchee Min (Paperback - 3 Jan. 2005)
£6.39

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang (Paperback - 1 Mar. 2012)
£6.99
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.