Description - The Rice Sprout Song by Eileen Chang
The first of Eileen Chang's novels to be written in English, The Rice-Sprout Song portrays the horror and absurdity that the land-reform movement brings to a southern village in China during the early 1950s. Contrary to the hopes of the peasants in this story, the redistribution of land does not mean an end to hunger. Man-made and natural disasters bring about the threat of famine, while China's involvement in the Korean War further deepens the peasants' misery. Chang's chilling depiction of the peasants' desperate attempts to survive both the impending famine and government abuse makes for spellbinding reading. Her critique of communism rewrites the land-reform discourse at the same time it lays bare the volatile relations between politics and literature.
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(203mm x 127mm x 12mm)
University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
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Book Reviews - The Rice Sprout Song by Eileen Chang
US Kirkus Review »
A convincing novel of Chinese village life under the Communist banner comes to us from an author who reached Hong Kong from the mainland in 1952. Centering about a young couple who try hard to live up to Labor Model status but are ultimately held responsible with others for a brief revolt, it draws a picture of family and village as exploited by regime after regime. First the Nationalists took away Gold Has Got's husband; now the Communists demand pigs and produce from the nearly starved farmers for New Years' Day. Moon Scent returns from three years of working in Shanghai to find the village changed but her love for her husband Gold Root undiminished. Their reunion is brief - for in the angry farmers' uprising Gold Root is shot, their child Beckon trampled to death and Moon Scent burned after setting fire to the Peoples' Granary. Stolid Comrade Wong, who cannot believe the people have turned of themselves, drives the "reactionary" couple to their dooms while the more sensitive Ky, an intellectual in search of film material, is horrified at Party barbarism, but not sufficiently so to turn from his opportunistic Party film story. Many strands well woven. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Eileen Chang
David Der-wei Wang is Professor of Chinese Literature at Columbia University. His current publications include Running Wild: Contemporary Chinese Fiction (1994).