Ancient Melodies

Shu-Hua Ling, Author, Shuhua Ling, Author Universe Publishing(NY) $14.95 (255p) ISBN 978-0-87663-751-7
The author of these charming reminiscences, one of the many daughters of an ex-mayor of Peking, was encouraged as a writer and painter by Virginia Woolf with whom she began a correspondence in the 1930s. The two never met: Woolf had died by the time Su Hua moved to London in 1947. With delicate verbal strokes, the author paints the canvas of her comfortable childhood as the daughter of her father's fourth concubine in a household of courtyards that encompassed six mothers and their children, as well as servants who tended the complicated daily routines of life for the privileged in China just prior to the Boxer rebellion. These gently traced stories of a lost world hint at the imminent social changes. Published in England in the '50s and only now appearing in the United States, this memoir recreates for a new audience a book Vita Sackville-West praised for its ``delightful sketches of a vanished way of life on the other side of the world.'' (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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