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Customer Review

on 25 May 2012
I'm surprised there aren't more reviews of this book, and I encourage anyone with an interest in China and the tumultuous history of its last 100 years to grab this book and settle down. The writing is great- not particularly poetic, it's just great story telling about an incredible saga of an extended family that begins with Guomindang and follows through the rise of Communism, the Cultural Revolution down to the present day. I have been to China and have worked with people there - some of them closely -- and found it interesting that they were not really that interested in talking about their recent history or what their parents had been through. And in reading this book I begin to understand why. This is such an extraordinary history that it would be very hard to relate it to anyone who had not lived through it. As I read this, though, I really began to appreciated what Lin Zhe was attempting to do here -- to make that history come alive for that absent audience. And she does. The gentleness of Dr Lin and the strength of Second Sister are traits to admire in a universal sense and the heartbreak of all that they go through is so touching that at times I had to stop reading. The modern story is such an extraordinary contrast to the rest of the family story that you really do get the sense of the unbelievable whirlwind of change that China has been through. I loved this book. It's long, but for me it was a wonderful companion on a 10-hour journey. On a practical level, I would not recommend reading it on Kindle (as I did) because there are too many times when I wanted to go back to an earlier section to reaquaint myself with names and Kindle is fiddly and irritating unless you are happy to read straight through non-stop (well, either that or I'm just not savvy navigating my Kindle!).
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Product Details

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars