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3 Local Warehouse Asia- China Peoples Republic 1949 to Present

The Little Red Guard: A Family Memoir

by

The Little Red Guard: A Family Memoir Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A Washington Post Best of 2012 pick

Three generations of a family living under one roof reflect the dramatic transformations of an entire society in this memoir of life in 20th century China

When Wenguang Huang was nine years old, his grandmother became obsessed with her own death. Fearing cremation, she extracted from her family the promise to bury her after she died. This was in Xian, a city in central China, in the 1970s, when a national ban on all traditional Chinese practices, including burials, was strictly enforced. But Huangs grandmother was persistent, and two years later, his father built her a coffin. He also appointed his older son, Wenguang, as coffin keeper, a distinction that meant, among other things, sleeping next to the coffin at night.

Over the next fifteen years, the whole family was consumed with planning Grandmas burial, a regular source of friction and contention, with the constant risk of being caught by the authorities. Many years after her death, the familys memories of her coffin still loom large. Huang, now living and working in America, has come to realize how much the concern over the coffin has affected his upbringing and shaped the lives of everyone in the family. Lyrical and poignant, funny and heartrending, The Little Red Guard is the powerful tale of an ordinary family finding their way through turbulence and transition.

Review:

"In his illuminating memoir, translator and freelance writer Huang chronicles growing up in central China during the 1970s. Weaving Chinese history and culture into his recollections, Huang reveals a family striving to fulfill a grandmother's last wish during a period of rapid societal change. At 72, Huang's grandmother became obsessed with her own death. She cajoled her family into promising they would bury rather than cremate her, a troublesome prospect for the family. The Communists, who insisted on cremation, had outlawed traditional Chinese burials. 'Grandma's request presented a dilemma for Father, who felt obligated to give grandma the burial she wanted but feared for his political future.' For the next 15 years, the family strained under the burden of the personal and financial issues involved while keeping their plans from curious authorities. Huang's story intersects with the country's sweeping political changes. The food rationing system was relaxed; cultural life blossomed; TV replaced radio as the main form of information and entertainment; and transportation improved. Huang studied English at a foreign language school, followed by studies in London. 'Years of Communist education became like the ancient artifacts,' Huang writes. Huang's coming-of-age story eloquently describes his family coping with change and how, in a turbulent time, he made sense of the world." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

Three generations of a family living under one roof reflect the dramatic transformations of an entire society in this memoir of life in 20th century China

When Wenguang Huang was nine years old, his grandmother became obsessed with her own death. Fearing cremation, she extracted from her family the promise to bury her after she died. This was in Xi’an, a city in central China, in the 1970s, when a national ban on all traditional Chinese practices, including burials, was strictly enforced. But Huang’s grandmother was persistent, and two years later, his father built her a coffin. He also appointed his older son, Wenguang, as coffin keeper, a distinction that meant, among other things, sleeping next to the coffin at night.

Over the next fifteen 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. Many years after her death, the family’s memories of her coffin still loom large. Huang, now living and working in America, has come to realize how much the concern over the coffin has affected his upbringing and shaped the lives of everyone in the family. Lyrical and poignant, funny and heartrending, The Little Red Guard is the powerful tale of an ordinary family finding their way through turbulence and transition.

Synopsis:

A Washington Post Best of 2012 pick

“Delightful . . . a book that brings a corner of modern China alive.”—The Wall Street Journal

When Wenguang Huang was nine years old, his grandmother became obsessed with her own death. Fearing cremation, she extracted from her family the promise to bury her after she died. This was in Xian, a city in central China, in the 1970s, when a national ban on all traditional Chinese practices, including burials, was strictly enforced. But Huangs grandmother was persistent, and two years later, his father built her a coffin. He also appointed his older son, Wenguang, as coffin keeper, a distinction that meant, among other things, sleeping next to the coffin at night.

Over the next fifteen years, the whole family was consumed with planning Grandmas burial, a regular source of friction and contention, with the constant risk of being caught by the authorities. Many years after her death, the familys memories of her coffin still loom large. Huang, now living and working in America, has come to realize how much the concern over the coffin has affected his upbringing and shaped the lives of everyone in the family. Lyrical and poignant, funny and heartrending, The Little Red Guard is the powerful tale of an ordinary family finding their way through turbulence and transition.

About the Author

Wenguang Huang, who grew up in northern China, is a Chicago-based writer and translator. His writing has appeared in�The Paris Review,�Harper's,�The Christian Science Monitor,the�Chicago Tribune, and theAsia Literary Review. He is the English translator of Liao Yiwu's�The Corpse Walker�and�God is Red�and Yang Xianhui's�Woman from Shanghai.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594488290
Subtitle:
A Family Memoir
Author:
Huang, Wenguang
Publisher:
Riverhead Trade
Subject:
World History - China
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20130402
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » Asia » China » Peoples Republic 1949 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » China

The Little Red Guard: A Family Memoir Used Hardcover
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$17.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Riverhead Books - English 9781594488290 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In his illuminating memoir, translator and freelance writer Huang chronicles growing up in central China during the 1970s. Weaving Chinese history and culture into his recollections, Huang reveals a family striving to fulfill a grandmother's last wish during a period of rapid societal change. At 72, Huang's grandmother became obsessed with her own death. She cajoled her family into promising they would bury rather than cremate her, a troublesome prospect for the family. The Communists, who insisted on cremation, had outlawed traditional Chinese burials. 'Grandma's request presented a dilemma for Father, who felt obligated to give grandma the burial she wanted but feared for his political future.' For the next 15 years, the family strained under the burden of the personal and financial issues involved while keeping their plans from curious authorities. Huang's story intersects with the country's sweeping political changes. The food rationing system was relaxed; cultural life blossomed; TV replaced radio as the main form of information and entertainment; and transportation improved. Huang studied English at a foreign language school, followed by studies in London. 'Years of Communist education became like the ancient artifacts,' Huang writes. Huang's coming-of-age story eloquently describes his family coping with change and how, in a turbulent time, he made sense of the world." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
Three generations of a family living under one roof reflect the dramatic transformations of an entire society in this memoir of life in 20th century China

When Wenguang Huang was nine years old, his grandmother became obsessed with her own death. Fearing cremation, she extracted from her family the promise to bury her after she died. This was in Xi’an, a city in central China, in the 1970s, when a national ban on all traditional Chinese practices, including burials, was strictly enforced. But Huang’s grandmother was persistent, and two years later, his father built her a coffin. He also appointed his older son, Wenguang, as coffin keeper, a distinction that meant, among other things, sleeping next to the coffin at night.

Over the next fifteen 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. Many years after her death, the family’s memories of her coffin still loom large. Huang, now living and working in America, has come to realize how much the concern over the coffin has affected his upbringing and shaped the lives of everyone in the family. Lyrical and poignant, funny and heartrending, The Little Red Guard is the powerful tale of an ordinary family finding their way through turbulence and transition.

"Synopsis" by ,
A Washington Post Best of 2012 pick

“Delightful . . . a book that brings a corner of modern China alive.”—The Wall Street Journal

When Wenguang Huang was nine years old, his grandmother became obsessed with her own death. Fearing cremation, she extracted from her family the promise to bury her after she died. This was in Xian, a city in central China, in the 1970s, when a national ban on all traditional Chinese practices, including burials, was strictly enforced. But Huangs grandmother was persistent, and two years later, his father built her a coffin. He also appointed his older son, Wenguang, as coffin keeper, a distinction that meant, among other things, sleeping next to the coffin at night.

Over the next fifteen years, the whole family was consumed with planning Grandmas burial, a regular source of friction and contention, with the constant risk of being caught by the authorities. Many years after her death, the familys memories of her coffin still loom large. Huang, now living and working in America, has come to realize how much the concern over the coffin has affected his upbringing and shaped the lives of everyone in the family. Lyrical and poignant, funny and heartrending, The Little Red Guard is the powerful tale of an ordinary family finding their way through turbulence and transition.

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