A Comrade Lost and Found: A Beijing Story

Jan Wong, Author . Houghton Mifflin $24 (352p) ISBN 978-0-15-101342-5

As a young student, award-winning Canadian journalist Wong (Red China Blues ) spent a year in Beijing on a foreign exchange program during the cultural revolution, and in this suspenseful, elegantly written book, she recounts her return to the city in an effort to find a former classmate she betrayed with grave consequences. As a fervent young Maoist eager to fit in with her compatriots, the author had voluntarily informed on Yin Luoyi, who had been interested in visiting America at a time when expressing approval for the “imperialist running dogs” could lead to expulsion, ostracism or worse; Yin was expelled from the school. Wong returns to a transformed Beijing. Gone is the semirural capital where the author's “revolutionary” course of study included bouts of hard labor and “self criticism” sessions. In its place are eight-lane expressways lit up “like Christmas trees,” shiny skyscrapers and the largest shopping mall in the world. Wong is a gifted storyteller, and hers is a deeply personal and richly detailed eyewitness account of China's journey to glossy modernity. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 10/06/2008
Release date: 02/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 322 pages - 978-0-547-24789-2
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-547-48862-2
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