Peking: A Novel of China's Revolution, 1921-1978

Anthony Grey, Author Little Brown and Company $19.95 (645p) ISBN 978-0-316-32823-4
Although titled Peking, this historical epic about China from the 1930s to the 1970s might more aptly have been called ``The Long March'': it recounts the legendary Long March of the Chinese Communists in flight from their foes in the '30s, and the ``continuation'' of the march during the more turbulent moments of Mao Tse-tung's rule. In 1934, Jakob Kellner, a British missionary, his American wife and their child are captured by Chinese Communists who set upon their rural mission. Kellner's wife is ruthlessly executed, his infant sent into hiding with a servant, and Kellner himself, his faith severely tested, forced to march for weeks in ragged clothes through awful weather with his captives. On the march, he is briefly united with Lu Mei-ling, a Chinese woman he met on his voyage to Shanghai. Mei-ling secretly takes care of his daughter and has a brief affair with him on the harsh journey. In the years following the Communist triumph, Kellner returns to China at times of crisis as a China watcher. Eventually, he introduces his grown daughter to the land and to the Chinese woman he loved and left behind. Grey (Saigon) has done a thorough job of conveying the cruelty of wholesale torture, privation and slaughter that accompanied the struggle between the Communists and the Kuomintang during the '30s. His depiction of the troubles during the ``Hundred Flowers'' purge of the '50s and the Cultural Revolution of the '60s, while instructive, stretches the novel farther than it will comfortably go. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
Ebook - 647 pages - 978-1-4804-5164-3
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