Saturday, 29 August 2015

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

I think heavy books in respect to smaller books have a bigger responsibility. More than others they have to be worth the reading and the carrying, since they imply generally you have to carry an extra bag just for the book. So I think writers should put extra care.
This is absolutely the case here! A heavy book, but more for its content than for the weight. A heavy, hard-at-times, reading about one century history of China pre- and post-Mao. All of this is explained through the life of three strong women of the same family: the grandmother, the mother and the daughter.

The story is told by Jung (the daughter) and the events are explained for what they are, but also for what they were thought to be: a critical explanation of Communism, with its advantages and disadvantages. 
Jung's parents were both actively  involved in spreading Communist's propaganda and its settlement. This meant that all the actions of the all family were fully controlled and checked to be sure they were not going against the Party. With almost-absent parents and a climate of indoctrination, Jung, at the beginning without realising, then more openly, tries to understand and discover what really freedom means and what could be the best way to reach it. This was not at all easy, in an environment where information was censored and bias and hard work was thought to be the only way to support the cause and fully devote to Mao and the Party.
An important book and testimony of China's history!

I read many reviews charging the book for the flat writing, almost without emotions, however, for me this is what I liked most of the book. A book that goes straight to the point, without fripperies, but that still has the power of emotions. Great reading!