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Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Taleby Belle Yang
Synopses & Reviews
When Belle Yang was forced to take refuge in her parents' home after an abusive boyfriend began stalking her, her father entertained her with stories of old China. The history she'd ignored while growing up became a source of comfort and inspiration, and narrowed the gap separating her--an independent, Chinese-American woman--from her Old World Chinese parents. In , Yang makes her debut into the graphic form with the story of her father's family, reunited under the House of Yang in Manchuria during the Second World War and struggling--both together and individually--to weather poverty, famine, and, later, Communist oppression. The parallels between Belle Yang's journey of self-discovery and the lives and choices of her grandfather, his brothers, and their father (the Patriarch) speak powerfully of the conflicts between generations--and of possibilities for reconciliation. Forget Sorrow demonstrates the power of storytelling and remembrance, as Belle--in telling this story--finds the strength to honor both her father and herself.
"With a lilting voice and a strongly etched fairy tale hand, writer/artist Yang weaves a riveting true-life tale of ancestral jealousies and familial woes from her father's recollections of growing up in China. Her book begins with Yang in her 20s, recently graduated from college but unable to get herself out into the world, wounded by self-doubt and bad memories of an ex-boyfriend turned stalker. Back living with her immigrant parents in Carmel, Calif., Yang listens to her father's stories about his grandfather, a man of wealth and stature whose many feuding sons left the family dismally ill-prepared for the winds of change that WWII and Mao's revolution sent violently whipping through the land. Betrayal and infighting pockmark these stories of woe, though they're buttressed with an appreciation of an uncle's Buddhist disavowal of material possessions or desires. Yang's story, which balances her own struggles with those of her ancestors without clumsily trying to equate them, echoes both with the tragic darkness of King Lear and the clean austerity of classical Chinese poetry." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Celebrated artist and writer Belle Yang makes a stunning debut as a graphic memoirist with this story of crisis and survival.
As a recent college grad, Belle Yang fled an abusive boyfriend who became a terrifying stalker. Back under the protection of her Old World Chinese parents, she sought escape in retelling and drawing her father"s stories about his family in Manchuria during the Second World War. Fleeing the ravages of war, four brothers had reunited in the family home, where (like Belle) they chafed against a traditional father, the patriarch.
In Forget Sorrow, Belle weaves a story within a story as she sets her personal journey of self-discovery against her ancestral history'"an epic drama of folly and betrayal, integrity and endurance during times of hunger, war, and Communist oppression. Recounting the lives and choices of her grandfather, his brothers, and her King Lear'"like great-grandfather, Belle at last finds healing'"and the strength to honor both her father and herself.
About the Author
Belle Yang is the author of the popular illustrated books Hannah Is My Name, The Odyssey of a Manchurian, and Baba: A Return to China Upon My Father's Shoulders. She lives in Carmel, California.
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