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I enjoyed reading Vivian Yang's Shanghai Girl on my Kindle and was excited to find that she'd recently come out with Memoirs of a Eurasian. The likeable protagonists in both of her books are blessed with a winning combination of beauty, intelligence and good luck. Their ambitiousness and resourcefulness enable them to transcend grim circumstances in their native China and thrive in a new environment. I thought the complex and fierce relationship between mother and daughter was well-developed. It wasn't always easy reading because the mother comes across as rather despicable, but the author makes the characters believable.
Their moral values may be vastly different, but their ambitiousness and will to survive are similar. I was amazed to learn in the author's Amazon bio that English is not her first language. She writes so fluently and expressively, I found myself re-reading many passages just to savor them. She also has a sense of humor that sometimes had me chuckling out loud, such as when she referred to the fictitious "University of Flatbush" in Shanghai Girl.
I guess this particularly tickled me because I'm from Brooklyn myself. In Memoirs, her allusion to a dog's probable demise in someone's stockpot where "the exact cause of death was unverifiable" was tactful yet hilarious at the same time. I was intrigued enough by the author to check out her webpage: Her own life seems worthy of being turned into a book! She strikes me as an interesting, culturally amphibious citizen of the world who is comfortable straddling the East and West.
I would love to read more by her. It felt like it left a lot of detail out and told a tale that had a lot of gaps sort of like reading a chapter title and wondering where the chapter was. Preview — Memoirs of a Eurasian by Vivian Yang. Memoirs of a Eurasian by Vivian Yang. Memoirs of a Eurasian 3. In Shanghai's French Concession in , a young Russian fleeing the Bolshevik Revolution from his homeland falls in love with a local teenager. She dies giving birth to a girl without his knowledge, and he is expelled from China along with most other Westerners following the Communist takeover in The daughter grows up to be a piano instructor and becomes an unwed mo In Shanghai's French Concession in , a young Russian fleeing the Bolshevik Revolution from his homeland falls in love with a local teenager.
The daughter grows up to be a piano instructor and becomes an unwed mother herself in Her daughter Mo Mo, whose father remains a mystery to all but her reticent mother, is beautiful, intelligent, and ambitious. But she is a rare Eurasian in a politically radical and culturally homogenous society.
San Diego Chinese Historical Museum “This latest novel (Memoirs of a Eurasian) from Yang (Shanghai Girl) is an engaging exploration of a world unknown to. Editorial Reviews. Review. Memoirs of a Eurasian is a riveting narrative spanning decades of 20th century history, from the Russian exile to Shanghai's French.
We enter her bleak yet fascinating world cloaked to the West where Eurasian appearances are a double-edged sword, cherished and fetishized simultaneously. As the plot of this evocative novel twists and turns through the lost glorious days of the old Shanghai, the Sino-Soviet ideological split of the s, the Cultural Revolution from to , the economic reform that ensued in China, the bubble years in the s Japan, and the 20th century Russian and Chinese immigration, a captivating story of one girl's courageous journey of overcoming extraordinary racial and socio-political circumstances unfolds The story is about Mo Mo, a Eurasian growing up in racially homogenous China; her Eurasian family saga from the Russian Bolshevik Revolution to Shanghai's colonial past in the s and s; her coming of age stories during China's tumultuous Cultural Revolution , and her courageous journey to success through odds and adversities.
The novel spanning almost the whole 20th century and involving quite a few international cities--each with its own local flavor and intrigue--provides a unique, intertwined story-line. The story is beautifully written, rich in metaphorical language, with a plethora of references from Chinese literature to Western literature. A truly remarkable literary feat.
I highly recommend this compelling story. A captivating reading experience.
The majority of the story takes place in Shanghai's former European quarters specifically, the French Concession and follows Mo Mo latova , a Chinese young woman whose Russian blood presents her with unique challenges as well as opportunities. Mo Mo's sophisticated first-person narration of the experiences of herself, her mixed-blood relatives, and the disenfranchised pre-Communist era -- leisure- and working-class Christian converts over a course of decades makes it easy for readers to sympathize with her.
The subject of the attitudes toward race and sex in homogenized greater China and Japan is explored here, as is China's recent economic boom and the revival it has brought to cosmopolitan Shanghai. It is a captivating tale of a distinctively private life unfamiliar to the Western readers amidst the turmoil of 20th century Chinese and Russian Diasporas and Communist rule in the most cosmopolitan city in China. Other settings are Hong Kong, Tokyo, and snippets of St. Petersburg and Warsaw, all relevantly linked and fleshed out in a tale with expected yet satisfying plot twists and turns.
Perhaps embellished from her own life in China the author bio indicates she emigrated as an adult , Yang is able to effectively create a dynamic story rich in history, culture, and psychology. Paperback , pages.
To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Memoirs of a Eurasian , please sign up. I enjoyed Falling Leaves and thought this book would be a good follow up. I just couldn't follow the story line. Maybe If I pick it up again at a different time it will be better.
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