In this memoir, Jung Chang recounts the lives of herself, her mother, and her grandmother growing up in pre-communist, revolutionary, and communist China. Mixing extensive historical facts with intensely personal remembrances, Jung Chang presents a vivid portrait of real life in China.
Think you know China? This is more so I'm not influenced by the words and sentiments in the raves. I want the review to reflect my own reading experience, not the viewpoint of others.
The pans are usually good for a laugh, and they often give me a starting point for my own assessment of the book. I've come to Wild Swans late, learning of it only recently from a friend who lived in China awhile teaching English. Ordinarily averse to reading books others recommend to me don't really know why this time it worked, in part I suspect because my friend in describing some of the fascinating revelations it contained tugged back the hem of a curtain I hadn't realized was blocking my view of a land and a culture far beyond anything I had imagined.
Many of the handful of disappointed readers bemoaned that Wild Swans didn't excite them, didn't have enough dialogue to suit their taste for action. They compared the book to works of fiction or fictionalized biographies.
They must have missed the parts describing the incomprehensible horrors the Japanese committed on the Chinese in World War II, and then by the Chinese themselves in the subsequent struggles for political control and ultimately by the prevailing Communist Party and by the regime headed by Mao Zedong, a certifiable madman who relentlessly set his subjects against each other by the millions, urging them to torture and beat each other to death and drive one another to insanity and suicide.
Or maybe they miss the dramatic foreground music that prompts them to glance up from their cellphones in time to catch violent depictions on their wide-screen TVs. Eventually allowed to leave her politically oppressive homeland for England as a visiting scholar, she began writing Wild Swans after a visit of several months from her mother.
Finally free of the restrictions to talk about anything that might be perceived as showing China in a negative light, Jung Chang's mother starting telling her daughter things she'd bottled up most of her life. She talked almost nonstop, even when she couldn't be with her daughter.
Jung Chang said her mother left some 60 hours of taped narrative before returning to China. I could go on for pages describing the horrors these women suffered and the incredible heroism they displayed under conditions brought about by the most wicked behavior the human species has ever displayed.
This statement is bound to arouse suspicion that I'm a political shill or at least am exaggerating beyond reason, but from reading Wild Swans I can say with complete confidence Mao Zedong was a genius of the most evil design ever seen on the planet.
If only for the sheer magnitude of Mao's murderous subjugation of China's hundreds of millions, Hitler and Stalin were pipsqueaks in comparison. As Jung Chang observed, Hitler and Stalin relied on elites and secret police to enforce their totalitarian regimes.
Mao cowed and brainwashed his subjects with cunning, bringing out their worst instincts toward service without question of his every whim. One consequence was the starvation of millions during a famine brought about solely by Mao's vanity and ignorance.
Her straightforward, uncontrived presentation, which has a diary feel at times, gives the horrors she describes a poignance that wrenches the heart. Not that all is ghastly and bleak.
A family member had warned her not to swallow the seeds or orange trees would grow out of her head.Wild Swans is a landmark book, with the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic vision of a monumental human saga, which tells of the lives of Jung Chang, her mother, her grandmother, and of 20th-century China.
page photo insert. Aug 09, · Wild Swans Three Daughters of China Juan Chang's Wild Swans Three Daughters of China is a delightful combination of a historical epic of China from to and a novel that unfolds the story of 'Three Daughters' (Juan Chang herself, her mother and maternal grandmother) within that same historical period.
Wild Swans is, simply put, a masterpiece. It is a memoir of three generations of author Jung Chang’s family, principally told around the lives of her grandmother, mother and herself.
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China is a family history that spans a century, recounting the lives of three female generations in China, by Chinese writer Jung Chang. First published in , Wild Swans contains the biographies of her grandmother and her mother, then finally her own autobiography.
Wild Swans is one of those books.
Written by a Chinese woman, Jung Chang, the book traces the history of that Asian nation in the twentieth century through the eyes of three generations of Chinese women, Jung's grandmother, her mother and herself.
Feb 24, · In this memoir, Jung Chang recounts the lives of herself, her mother, and her grandmother growing up in pre-communist, revolutionary, and communist China. Mixing extensive historical facts with intensely personal remembrances, Jung Chang presents a vivid portrait of real life in .