Sunday, April 18, 2010

Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale (2010)

An autobiographical graphic novel by Belle Yang, this book reminded me of the books by Pearl S. Buck which also took place in China.

Xuan (translated to Forget Sorrow) is the only daughter of Chinese immigrants. As a typical teenager she was embarrassed by their old world ways and accented English. She had the bad fortune of falling in with an abusive man and went to China to study traditional art, travel, and meet her grandparents. She returned to the U.S. right after the massacre at Tiananmen Square. In order to fix her relationship with her father, she listens to stories of his family.
I love Baba's stories. I want to be able to give voice to people who were forgotten.
Rotten Egg silenced me with his fist when I disagreed. The Chinese government silenced its citizens with tanks. I have a voice in America. I won't waste it.
Rotten Egg has reduced my world to these four walls, but I won't let him waste my life.
I'm going to work with Baba until I put in the last period...and send it out into the world.
Xuan's great-grandfather, his four sons, and the rest of the extended family lived in an enclosure in Manchuria off of the rent of tenant farmers. The story follows them through invasions, famines, revolutions, and intense family politics.

I highly recommend this book to readers who are interested in life in 20th century China.

My rating for this book: ++++

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