China Saga

C. Y. Lee, Author George Weidenfeld & Nicholson $0 (534p) ISBN 978-1-55584-056-3
Spanning the years from 1880 to 1976, Lee's (Flower Drum Song) epic novel beautifully integrates highly credible characterizations with turbulent Chi nese political history. Fong Tai at tends school in Boston, then returns home to assume a government post. The stabiity of his life is undermined by two events: the burgeoning Reform Movement, whose members seek to overthrow the corrupt Ching Dynasty, and Fong Tai's forbidden ardor for Rose, a prostitute. Years after Fong Tai's murder by insurgents and Rose's suicide, their illegitimate child, Brigid, is befriended by two adherents of Sun Yat-sen. A fiery, uninhibited girl who represents the new breed of modern ized Chinese woman. Brigid joins her fate with those who at last abolish the Ching Dynasty. Though revolutionar ies triumph, Brigid despairs after she is deserted by the charismatic actor who fathered her daughter, Mabel. Al ready incorrigibly dissolute by age 15, Mabel eventually has two sons, both of whom are drawn into the turmoil of Mao Tse-tung's Cultural Revolution. Lee masterfully succeeds in portray ing the decades of large-scale havoc and private emotional pain, and the book abounds with illuminating his torical details. (August 28)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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