From the Back Cover
Zhimei Zhang's compelling story begins in the turbulent years of pre-revolutionary China. She paints an unforgettable portrait of her grandparents' generation-the intricacies of family life and social customs, from the betrothal of her parents "while the pair were still slumbering in the womb," to the decline of the family's good fortune. The Japanese occupation of Northeast China is the backdrop for Zhimei Zhang's early childhood in Beijing. With humour and passion she describes the uneasy period of nationalist rule following the defeat of the Japanese in 1945, which ended with the march of Mao's Eighth Route Army into the capital in January 1949. In 1951, when she was only sixteen years old, the author was assigned to live in East Berlin ("still a city of rubble") as a member of a trade delegation. Following her return to China she recounts her attempts to keep her 'political reputation' intact despite various political campaigns, and chronicles the fascinating story of her 'revolutionary' marriage and divorce Chinese-style. In vivid detail Zhimei Zhang describes being ideologically re-educated in the countryside and the effects of the Cultural Revolution on her family, friends, and herself.