6 Tanyin Alley

Zongren Liu, Author China Books & Periodicals $17.95 (313p) ISBN 978-0-8351-2146-0
The daily lives of ordinary people caught up in the Cultural Revolution that shook the People's Republic of China are depicted sensitively in this first work of fiction by a Beijing journalist ( Two Years in the Melting Pot ) who uses the raw material of his own experience. In the stories of 10 poor families who live around a central courtyard in a back-alley Beijing slum, the great social experiment of the Mao period is enacted in varying degrees. The focus is on a young couple whose marriage, unromantic by Western standards, endures through physical deprivation, separation by internment on a labor reform farm and the dawning of their betrayal by the system. The families in the courtyard are a colorful collection of the old, wedded to ritual and reverence, and the young, doctrinaire and restless. The full range of human emotions is expressed--even, surprisingly, optimism, sounded in Liu Zongren's concluding hope for a blend of China's mighty past with the unsettling present. In endowing his characters with an appealing humanity, the author makes a distinctive contribution to our understanding of how his people survived a terrible era. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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