Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale

Belle Yang, Author
Belle Yang, Author . Norton $23.95 (250p) ISBN 978-0-393-06834-4
Reviewed on: 03/15/2010
Release date: 05/01/2010
Paperback - 250 pages - 978-0-393-33996-3
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With a lilting voice and a strongly etched fairy tale hand, writer/artist Yang weaves a riveting true-life tale of ancestral jealousies and familial woes from her father's recollections of growing up in China. Her book begins with Yang in her 20s, recently graduated from college but unable to get herself out into the world, wounded by self-doubt and bad memories of an ex-boyfriend turned stalker. Back living with her immigrant parents in Carmel, Calif., Yang listens to her father's stories about his grandfather, a man of wealth and stature whose many feuding sons left the family dismally ill-prepared for the winds of change that WWII and Mao's revolution sent violently whipping through the land. Betrayal and infighting pockmark these stories of woe, though they're buttressed with an appreciation of an uncle's Buddhist disavowal of material possessions or desires. Yang's story, which balances her own struggles with those of her ancestors without clumsily trying to equate them, echoes both with the tragic darkness of King Lear and the clean austerity of classical Chinese poetry. (May)

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