5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An amazing family saga from Comunist China.,
This review is from: Vermilion Gate: An Extraordinary Story of Growing Up in Communist China: A Family Story of Communist China (Hardcover)
It is with a certain amount of relief that one arrives at the end of this book - not because one has managed to get through its 790 pages - but because it is hoped that - at last - the author has found serenity and happiness in her present life. Aiping Mu has experienced more suffering, both physical and psychological, than would seem to be humanly possible to support. The incredible hardships experienced by firstly her grandparents, her own parents, and afterwards by herself, are told against a backdrop of the unfolding history of Communist China. To the western reader the events are as remote as reading science-fiction. It is hard to imagine that "punishment" for not being a good communist can take the form (in the author's case as a teenager) of being exiled to one of the remotest regions of China - away from her family - living in a cave and existing often only on flowers and leaves. "Separation" is a word that often comes up in this book - separation from family and friends for not only months, but sometimes for years. There is astonishment that parents who had committed no "crime" at all - as perceived by our western eyes - could have been subjected to the worst humiliations - both physical (torture) and psychological (public rejection). This ultimately had repercussions on her own relationship with an adored father - told with great sensitivity. The feeling on having read this book is that there must be very, very few similar experiences which could be matched in any other society with those of her own and of her compatriots.
Historically, the reader is the richer on having been able to enter into the closed world of Communist China from the beginning - to the end -of the "reign" of Mao Tse-tung.