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Colors of the Mountainby Da Chen
Synopses & Reviews
In 1962, as millions of Chinese citizens were gripped by Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution and the Red Guards enforced a brutal regime of communism, a boy was born to a poor family in southern China. Da Chen seemed destined for a life of poverty, shame, and hunger. But winning humor and an indomitable spirit can be found in the most unexpected places.
Colors of the Mountain is a story of triumph, a memoir of a boyhood full of spunk, mischief, and love. The young Da Chen is part Horatio Alger, part Holden Caulfield; he befriends a gang of young hoodlums as well as the elegant, elderly Chinese Baptist woman who teaches him English and opens the door to a new life. Chen's remarkable story is full of unforgettable scenes of rural Chinese life: feasting on oysters and fried peanuts on New Year's Day, studying alongside classmates who wear red armbands and quote Mao, and playing and working in the peaceful rice fields near his village.
"Despite the devastating circumstances of his childhood and adolescence, Chen recounts his coming of age with arresting simplicity. Readers will cry along with this sad, funny boy who proves tough enough to make it, every step of the painful way." Publishers Weekly
"[An] excellent coming-of-age story. Da learns about love, ambition, respect, and true friendship from his family, friends, and mentors." VOYA
"In telling his own story, Da presents a fascinating look at growing up in a changing China." KLIATT
Colors of the Mountain is a classic story of triumph over adversity, a memoir of a boyhood full of spunk, mischief, and love, and a welcome introduction to an amazing young writer.
Da Chen was born in 1962, in the Year of Great Starvation. Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution engulfed millions of Chinese citizens, and the Red Guard enforced Mao's brutal communist regime. Chens family belonged to the despised landlord class, and his father and grandfather were routinely beaten and sent to labor camps, the family of eight left without a breadwinner. Despite this background of poverty and danger, and Da Chen grows up to be resilient, tough, and funny, learning how to defend himself and how to work toward his future. By the final pages, when his says his last goodbyes to his father and boards the bus to Beijing to attend college, Da Chen has become a hopeful man astonishing in his resilience and cheerful strength.
About the Author
Da Chen is thirty-seven years old and is a graduate of Columbia University Law School, which he attended on full scholarship. A brush calligrapher of considerable spirituality who also plays the classical bamboo flute, he lives in New York's Hudson Valley with his wife and two small children.
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