A Leaf in the Bitter Wind PDF ePub eBook

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A Leaf in the Bitter Wind free pdf One of the best ways to understand history is through eye-witness accounts. Ting-Xing Ye's riveting first book, " A Leaf in the Bitter Wind," is a memoir of growing up in Maoist China. It was an astonishing coming of age through the turbulent years of the Cultural Revolution (1966 - 1974). In the wave of revolutionary fervour, peasants neglected their crops, exacerbating the widespread hunger. While Ting-Xing was a young girl in Shanghai, her father's rubber factory was expropriated by the state, and he was demoted to a labourer. A botched operation left him paralyzed from the waist down, and his health deteriorated rapidly since a capitalist's well-being was not a priority. He died soon after, and then Ting-Xing watched her mother's struggle with poverty end in stomach cancer. By the time she was thirteen, Ting-Xing Ye was an orphan, entrusted with her brothers and sisters to her Great-Aunt, and on welfare. Still, the Red Guards punished the children for being born into the capitalist class. Schools were being closed- suicide was rampant- factories were abandoned for ideology- distrust of friends and neighbours flourished. Ting-Xing was sent to work on a distant northern prison farm at sixteen, and survived six years of backbreaking labour and severe conditions. She was mentally tortured for weeks until she agreed to sign a false statement accusing friends of anti-state activities. Somehow finding the time to teach herself English, often by listening to the radio, she finally made it to Beijing University in 1974 as the Revolution was on the wane -- though the acquisition of knowledge was still frowned upon as a bourgeois desire and study was discouraged. Readers have been stunned and moved by this simply narrated personal account of a "1984"-style ideology-gone-mad, where any behaviour deemed to be bourgeois was persecuted with the ferocity and illogic of a witch trial, and where a change in politics could switch right to wrong in a moment. The story of both a nation and an individual, the book spans a heady 35 years of Ye's life in China, until her eventual defection to Canada in 1987 -- and the wonderful beginning of a romance with Canadian author William Bell. The book was published in 1997. The 1990s saw the publication of several memoirs by Chinese now settled in North America. Ye's was not the first, yet earned a distinguished place as one of the most powerful, and the only such memoir written from Canada. It is the inspiring story of a woman refusing to "drift with the stream" and fighting her way through an impossible, unjust system. This compelling, heart-wrenching story has been published in Germany, Japan, the US, UK and Australia, where it went straight to #1 on the bestseller list and has been reprinted several times- Dutch, French and Turkish editions will appear in 2001.

About Dalton

Ting-Xing Ye (her surname means "Leaf") was born in Shanghai in 1952, three years after the founding of the People's Republic of China. Her mother didn't encourage education for girls, but Ting-Xing went to school anyway and eventually to university to study English language and literature, just as China was opening up to the west. In a moment of profound irony, she was offered one of the highest placements available for an interpreter, with the hated Secret Service. But her request for a transfer back to Shanghai, where she could look after her kind great-aunt, was accepted. Working for the municipal government, she dealt with the delegations of visiting royalty, presidents and other dignitaries. She married and, a year after the introduction of the one-child-per-family rule, gave birth to a daughter. After six years, she returned to Beijing to enter an international studies program, where she met William Bell, the Canadian author and teacher, who was teaching English at the college. Although the official policy was to distrust foreigners, "I felt safe with Bill," she says, and a deep bond began to form between them as she finally felt safe to express her true thoughts, at first through the journal he encouraged his class to keep. When Bell returned to Canada, they began a correspondence. Ye was tired of the oppressiveness of Chinese society, the constant surveillance at work, and her loveless marriage. When a scholarship to York University (which Bell had helped fabricate) arrived, she took it. "My freedom came with a big price... I sometimes doubt my decision." Ye made the hardest decision of her life when she did not return to China after her studies ended in 1989. The relief of being in a free country with a secure future that she could control was tempered by the anguish of separation from her daughter Qi-Meng. Her husband cut off all contact, making it impossible for her to see her daughter for over ten years- when she realized she might never see her again, she decided to write down a record of family memories that Qi-Meng might one day read. "Even now, I question whether I was too selfish. My fear is that people will read my book and think that I sought my own freedom at the expense of my daughter." Happily, after years of searching -- during which readers wrote with offers of help -- she was finally able to make contact with her daughter again. Qi-Meng is studying to be a teacher at a university in China. William Bell, who now lives with Ye in Orillia, Ontario, encouraged Ye to turn her memories into a book. At first she thought it was too personal, and didn't want people to think she was looking for sympathy- when she began to write, it felt as though she were reliving the worst times. However, the freedom of her new life has unleashed Ye's creativity. As an antidote to the painful memories dredged up writing the memoir, she also began to write children's books based on folk tales and sayings she grew up with. She has now published four books for young readers, and continues to write. The contrast with her former life in totalitarian China could not be greater. Even private diaries were regularly examined during the Cultural Revolution. "You would never write on your own because it was too dangerous." Most of those who have published memoirs of tumultuous times in China defected to the United States, and they are from a variety of backgrounds. Nina Cheng's "Life and Death in Shanghai" describes the six years she spent as a political prisoner- Rae Yang's "Spider Eaters" tells how her Communist intellectual parents were denounced- Zhu Xiao Di's "Thirty Years in a Red House" shows how his father suffered in spite of being a high-ranking Party member. The internationally renowned "Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China," published in 1992, follows Jung Chang's family from the 1870s to Deng Xiaoping's reforms. Meihong Xu's "Daughter of China "also involves a cross-cultural romance, as she fell in love with a visiting American, though with less happy consequences than Ye. Finally, Jan Wong's extraordinary "Red China Blues "recounts her experiences as a Canadian student and later, a journalist for the "Globe and Mail," in Maoist China. All are accounts of China, yet none could have been written there. By virtue of offering freedom of expression, the West has also inherited a wealth of fictional literature by emigrated Chinese writers. Among the most recently celebrated is the acclaimed novel "Waiting "by Ha Jin, set during and after the Cultural Revolution. Other authors have chosen to focus their fiction on the second-generation Chinese experience in Canada (such as Wayson Choy and Judy Fong Bates), the U.S. (such as Amy Tan) and the U.K. (Timothy Mo). It's interesting to consider the importance of the memoir in recent years, and its ability to transport us to other times and places. Of course there is the unforgettable Ireland of Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes." Ernest Hillen's story "The Way of a Boy," an account of growing up in a Japanese prison camp in Indonesia during the Second World War, was a bestseller in Canada and Australia. In 2000, Ken Wiwa wrote of the repressive regime in Nigeria in a book about his relationship with his executed father, "In the Shadow of a Saint," and Nega Mezlekia wrote of the turbulent 1970s and '80s in Ethiopia in "Notes from a Hyena's Belly." In an interesting twist on the theme, Jack Todd's 2001 memoir of escaping from the U.S. during the Vietnam War, "A Taste of Metal, " also gives a fascinating account of being in the wrong place at wrong time and, like Ting-Xing Ye, making a life-changing decision.

Details Book

Author : Dalton
Publisher : Random House USA Inc
Data Published :
ISBN : 0385257015
EAN : 9780385257015
Format Book : PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
Number of Pages : 416 pages
Age + : 15 years
Language : English
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