To the Edge of the Sky
By (author) Anhua Gao
To the Edge of the Sky by Anhua Gao
Book DescriptionAnhua Gao's parents were hailed as revolutionary heroes. In her early years she knew love and support and grew up in a privileged world. But when they both tragically died, all she was left with was her parent's fading reputation to guide her through the horrors of 20th century China. This is the story of how Anhua first struggled with and then against the ideological machine of Red China. It is a story of pain and horror, turmoil and tragedy. But most of all it is the story of a woman who found courage, hope and humour and who, against unbelievable odds, survived.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780140287240
(204mm x 128mm x 30mm)
Imprint: Penguin Books Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 7-Jun-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
UK Kirkus Review » A story in the tradition set by Jung Chang with Wild Swans, this is a moving epic which recounts the story of one woman's struggle against an inflexible, often inhumane regime. Anhua Gao grew up in the shadow of Red China, having been born after her father and mother met as recruits in the newly-formed Fourth Army. When a senior officer had threatened to coerce Anhua's mother into marriage, her father, who had left home at 13 to seek his fortune, cut off his little finger to demonstrate the extent of his love. The couple were married in 1942, but soon Red regiments were hunted down and Gao's sister was hidden for three days in a cave while her guardian, the Widow Liu, was hideously murdered by troops hunting rebels. But when the tide turns and her grandfather, an enemy of the Party, arrives to ask for mercy, he is turned away by his son. Packed with human detail and poignancy, littered with stories of appalling brutality, the courage of the narrator who escaped to tell her tale is luminous. (Kirkus UK)
US Kirkus Review » A refugee now living in England graphically chronicles the hardships, losses, and horrors she endured in Mao's China. Born in 1949, the year the Communists took over, Gao was the third daughter of two prominent Party members. The first years of her childhood in Nanjing were happy, but in 1956 her father died of cancer, and five years later her mother succumbed to heart trouble. Her family, which now included a brother, was split up among relatives, and Gao was sent to live with an uncle in Shanghai who frequently berated her and failed to give her adequate clothing. Her life was to be even more drastically affected by the series of purges and upheavals initiated in 1964 that culminated in the Cultural Revolution. To redress the tremendous losses caused by the Great Leap Forward of 1958 and the subsequent famine, Mao ordered educated young people to settle in the countryside. Fifteen-year-old Gao and her middle-school classmates were sent to help the peasants bring in the harvest at a primitive commune with no toilets and only hay to sleep on. When students were again ordered to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, Gao's memories of these ghastly conditions prompted her to join the army medical corps instead. There, needing a skeleton for instruction, her superiors exhumed a body, rendered the flesh, and tossed the remains to wild dogs. Like millions of other Chinese, Gao was betrayed by a family member during the Cultural Revolution; her embittered elder sister passed on to the authorities letters that included complaints about her situation. Gao was dismissed from the army, but her knowledge of English helped her find other work. An abusive husband and a volatile political climate continued to make life difficult, and she suffered a brief imprisonment as well, but Gao was determined to prevail over her troubles. Almost miraculously, she did. An authentic survivor's story, more disturbing and awe-inspiring than any TV reality show. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Anhua Gao
Anhua Gao was born in 1949 in Shandong, Nanjing Province and moved to England after a lifetime of tremendous hardship in December 1994. This is her first book. She now lives in Folkestone, Kent.
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