In 1973, when Wenguang Huang was eight, his grandmother became obsessed with her own death. Fearing cremation, she appealed to her family to promise to bury her after she'd died. This was in Xi'an, a city in central China, at a time when a national ban on all traditional Chinese practices, including burials, was strictly enforced. But his grandmother was persistent, and two years later, Huang's father built her a coffin.
Over the next 15 years, the whole family was consumed with planning Grandma's burial, a regular source of friction and contention, with the constant risk of being caught by the authorities. Years later, Huang came to understand how much the coffin had influenced his upbringing and shaped the lives of everyone in the family.
The details of a young man's life, and that of his parents, during the Cultural Revolution. The story is centered around the pending death of the grandmother, her coffin and burial during a time when it was illegal to bury a body. Similar to other stories of the horrible times during Chairman Moa's reign.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
The story is extremely personable. Love all the stories and the time the author took to describe even the little things.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Wing-mama and/or the author. The grandmother kills me. Her story is extremely interesting, but I love how all of the stories come together under the son's bio.
Which scene was your favorite?
The time when the grandmother decides to become Muslim so she doesn't have to be cremated (but ends up wearing a mask because she can't stand the smell of lamb).
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Listen to this book again, and again, and again.
Any additional comments?
The narrator is really, really good. I think it's the combination of his nice, easy-going, everyday speech and the fascinating storyline that makes this one of my favorites.