The author uses the story of 3 generations or her family to reveal the story of China.
It was a tapestry that included both the personal and political histories of a place that has been shrouded in mystery.
I read this book back in the 1990s in a book club and loved it, so I was happy to see it in Audible. I thought the narrator was very stilted and must have been chosen just because she can pronounce Chinese names. I must not have finished it in the 90s because the last half gets boring and I didn't remember it at all. Or was it the narration? I cannot recommend this version although the content is amazing. My schooling certainly never got up to Mao and the cultural Revolution. I may have to try her book in Mao that is more recent.
Wild Swans is one of the most gripping books I've bought from Audible. This is the story not just of the author, but of her mother and grandmother, too. Her grandmother's early life is like something out of an Amy Tan novel--her father sold her as a concubine to a middle-aged general. After his death (and a thwarted attempt to take her daughter away from her), she married a kindly physician whose family from his first marriage poisoned their life so much that they eventually moved to another city.
The author's mother, as tough and strong-minded as her own mother and daughter, joined the Communists in the hope that they would lead China to a better future, only to be badly disillusioned. The account of her ordeals, and that of her husband and children, exerts an almost hypnotic force on the listener; what they endured was terrible, but Chang writes with compassion for everyone involved and a thoughtful perspective that comes from several decades' remove. The ending is happy: Chang becomes a professor of English and linguistics and moves to Britain, where she still lives. Her mother and siblings are also thriving.
Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in China, likes the books of Amy Tan and Lisa See, or just enjoys a fascinating true story that reads like a novel. The narrator is always clear and easy to understand, and seems to pronounce Chinese correctly.
I knew few details about China and Mao until this book. Wonderfully written and narrated, the story concentrates on the people and how Mao's policies affected them. Class and rank were everything; individuality was basically outlawed. I especially liked the fact that she wrote about three generations. Excellent book!!
Amazing account of life under Mao. I have many Chinese friends, both in the U.S. and in China. This gave me an understanding of what some of them (the older ones) went through during the Mao years.
This is an important work to help Westerners understand recent history, and to help understand that China today is far different and much more free than it was then.
The story is fascinating; Jung Chang is a master at telling it; the reader was superb at helping me feel what the author and her family were going through. I'd give it 10 stars if I could.
exactingly painful deception
how truth was a fairytale
the communist mother
excellent, chilling description of the red guard
I would in case I may have missed some information.
The information on China before Mao's time.
I'm not certain.
A terrific reading voice, she was able to keep up interest even though there was little dialog.
A Chinese women's odyssey - from bound feet through communism to the present.
Information filled, and epic, I consider this tome an important contribution to history. Literature? Maybe not. This book has very little dialog. It is a long journey, most of it "told"; very little "shown".