Gate of Rage: A Novel of One Family Trapped by the Events at Tiananmen Square

C. Y. Lee, Author William Morrow & Company $20 (309p) ISBN 978-0-688-09764-6
Though his prose is never more than serviceable, the author of Flower Drum Song has written a provocative novel which he opens with a flourish: in 1980, Charles Hong returns to China after 32 years to meet his son, Jimmy, for the first time. An American citizen, Charles had fled Mao's armies in 1948, knowing neither that his wife was pregnant nor that she would be unable to follow him. Now a Hong Kong hotel tycoon, Charles begins to invest in Deng Xiaoping's modernization programs as he becomes involved with Jimmy and his wife, Do Do, a politically active radio reporter. Lee gives a clear picture of complex family relations: the wife Charles left, now dead, had an illegitimate, half-Caucasian son; Charles has remarried, to a stunning, much younger woman whose motives are suspect, and they are parents to teenager Raymond. These characters are concerned with political developments, from the Open Door policy to the encouragement of free markets. But the pivotal figure here is Do Do, who becomes immersed in the crucial events leading up to the infamous massacre at Tiananmen Square. Lee slowly builds to this climactic bloodbath, but his hasty reconciliation of subplots detracts from the intensity of the brutal historic moment. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
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