Read Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale by Belle Yang Online


"A healing portrait drawn in epic ink strokes."-Elle 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 w"A healing portrait drawn in epic ink strokes."-ElleWhen 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 Forget Sorrow, 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....

Title : Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780393339963
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale Reviews

  • Vishy
    2019-03-27 02:53

    I got ‘Forget Sorrow’ by Belle Yang, as a birthday present from one of my dear friends. My friend has introduced me to a lot of beautiful literature and so I couldn’t wait to read Belle Yang’s book. I read it in one sitting. Here is what I think.What I think‘Forget Sorrow’ is the memoir of the author Belle Yang and that of her father. Belle Yang starts the book with her own life – on how she was born in Taiwan to parents who had come from mainland China and how they had ended up in America. She also talks about the difference between her perspective of life and that of her parents and the eternal conflict between the value systems of the east and the west and how that led to differences and conflicts at home. She goes away from home to attend college, but comes back home after graduating, as an ex-boyfriend is stalking her. Her father uses his contacts and gets her admitted to a traditional Chinese art course in Beijing, where her teacher is Deng Lin, Deng Xiaoping’s daughter. The year is 1989 and we all know what happened – it is the year of the Tiananmen massacre, and Belle experiences history as it happens. Unfortunately the situation in Beijing becomes too tough for her to manage and she comes back home to live with her parents and whiles away her time. Her dad is very disappointed with her and frequently compares her with people whom they know – he is disappointed that while everyone is moving on in their lives, studying at university and getting advanced degrees, or getting settled in good professions, his own daughter is whiling away her time at home. This time together helps Belle in getting to know her parents better. While having long conversations, her father tells her his own story – about his own parents and grandparents and uncles and aunts and how it came about that a poor family in Manchuria, became rich and how history intervened in the fortunes of the family and made it poor again, and how he was able to escape from his own country and strike it out in a free land. A significant part of the story is narrated by Belle Yang’s father and is about his family.I liked ‘Forget Sorrow’ very much for the insider’s view it presented on early twentieth-century China. Belle’s grandparents were Manchurians and we see how this fact changes their lives and that of their families for good and for bad at different times in history. My favourite character in the story was Belle’s father’s second uncle, who is a person who loves live to the full, is philosophical, is not ambitious and is able to enjoy life when the family is rich and when it is poor. At various times he tries his hand at selling watermelons and works in a factory as an accountant and people around always like him for his unconventional ways and for his friendly nature. Another of my favourite characters is Belle Yang’s father’s aunt who dies young. The book also gives an interesting depiction of the debates, arguments, subtle politics and the kind acts that happen in a Chinese family of that era, where custom and tradition are important but where people find their way around tradition and indulge in spontaneous acts of kindness.In some ways Belle Yang’s book reminded me of the graphic novel classics – ‘Persepolis’ by Marjane Sartrapi, because it was also a memoir set during a particular era, and of ‘Maus’ by Art Spiegelman, because as Spiegelman does, Yang also talks to her father and draws out the family story and secrets from him.If you like reading books on China and if you like graphic novels, you will enjoy this.

  • Kristen Northrup
    2019-04-18 21:40

    I wanted to enjoy this much more than I did. You never want to speak ill of tragedy-laden true stories, of course. And it's a part of 20th century history that has never received all that much attention in the West, thanks to the distraction of our own horrors. But I did have difficulty with the art. I was really surprised to learn at the end that Yang is an established artist, so it was a style choice rather than simply a lack of experience. Things were just too tightly packed for me, and not even specific to the given mood. Of course, it didn't help that I had an advance copy that was more error-prone than most. Many speech bubbles only had half of their words and others had temporary notes mixed in with the dialog. The methods of expressing strong emotion and peril were strong; it was more the scenery that got over-detailed and too strongly inked. The story itself was very well-structured and always engaging. The only quibble there was how blithely the ex-boyfriend was written off at the end.

  • Janice
    2019-03-30 23:51

    This is an interesting graphic memoir in which Belle Yang tells not only a bit of her own story (she's turned to her parents for refuge from a dangerous stalker they've nicknamed "Rotten Egg") but also shares her father's family's history. Her father's ancestors settle in Manchuria and build a prosperous life there, but by the time her father and uncles are young men, their comfortable lives are in jeopardy -- first from the Japanese and then from the Communists. Some of the relatives Yang describes are interesting because their lives are guided by philosophies that I might understand in an innate way (e. g. Taoism), because they so permeate Chinese culture, but that don't influence me as deeply. For example, Second Uncle seems content to let the winds blow him this way and that without struggling; yet he survives. Meanwhile the Patriarch (Yang's father's grandfather) ends his life going from the door of one child to another seeking shelter after the Communists expel him from his land and label him a "Capitalist." Yang's images appear to be painted and they serve her story well. But I almost think that this might be a longer book. There are a lot of siblings to keep track of and their stories are fairly complicated. It seems to me that Yang might devote more time to each one. (I think that perhaps she has shared her father's story in other books.) Still, I know from personal experience that anyone trying to retrieve family stories is sometimes limited both by the capacity and willingness of her source to share information and as well by the desire to tell stories honestly (and not make up things that didn't really happen). I'm grateful that Yang made this book.

  • Sharon
    2019-04-19 01:47

    Belle Yang spent years of her life trying to stay safe from a violent ex-boyfriend. She lost friends, she spent a few years studying in China, and she returned home to live with her parents. Her parents protected her, but her father resented how Belle's life had turned out, and even blamed her for the abusive ex-boyfriend.Forget Sorrow is the story of how Belle and her father grew close again through the stories he told of the generations of their family. The conflicts, the sacrifices, the mistakes and the tragedies begin to soften the two of them toward each other. Reconciliation and intimacy happen quietly through the awareness of shared suffering, and the practice of living out her uncle's last words to her dying grandfather: "Forget Sorrow. Forgive your children. Forgive the world."Yang's book draws a picture of family love in its complexity, and how slowly old sorrows get left behind. Her honest portrayal of her family avoids simple good-guy/bad-guy reductions and allows the reader into the intricacies of how families love and hate each other.There is no real resolution to the conflict of the violent stalker, who is a looming faceless presence in the beginning of the book, but fades out by the end. It is a flaw in the story, but that's the way real life works, so it's understandable. all in all, still a very satisfying read.

  • cat
    2019-04-10 01:57

    Unlike many of my friends, I am not a comic book reader. And then there was Allison Bechdel's amazing graphic novel Fun Home, and I discovered that I needed to reconsider my previous stance. And to be honest, I brought this lovely and poetic graphic novel home for my partner who loves comic books. But then I picked it up to browse through before returning to the library and suddenly I was halfway through Belle Yang's beautifully illustrated tale of escaping her abusive boyfriend (named Rotten Egg for the purposes of this book) turned stalker, by returning to China, her family's ancestral home. When she returns to her parent's home in Carmel, CA several years later, she begins unweaving the family history that she has glimpsed; interviewing her father about his wealthy grandfather, the family that he sheltered during WWII and Mao's revolution, their feuds and infighting, and the familial secrets and connections. This gorgeous graphic novel was first a novel, and it was not until Belle Yang had been rejected 14 times by literary agents, according to an interview that I read, that she turned it into a graphic novel. When asked for a summation of the experience in a six word memoir, she ended that interview by saying " Nifty: comic book creator at fifty.". Total LOVE!

  • May-Ling
    2019-04-20 19:42

    i judged a book by its cover and that's how this one got my attention, but i actually think that's a great way to find graphic novels.forget sorrow is reminiscent of persepolis, in that it chronicles political upheaval in china. instead of putting us directly in the moment, the plot comes from a girl writing about her extended family in china. she tells the story after listening to hours of stories from her father. it's a beautiful tribute to her family. it's very old fashioned in terms of asian culture, but i get that from my own family. the best part of the book is the illustration. i would stop often and just look at the ink on the page, considering that some frames were pretty much works of art in themselves. if you don't know anything about communism and its repercussions in china, forget sorrow does an excellent job of showing how difficult the political transitions were for the people - i've seen a lot of that conveyed well on film and the genre of graphic novel does it justice as well.

  • Kirk
    2019-04-01 23:05

    I found the narration far too confusing, especially when Yang's rather cartoony drawing style doesn't do much to distinguish between characters. They're all about the same basic build, but maybe one's hat is different or he has a wave in his hair. Yeah...who is that again? And then periodically she'll interrupt somebody's narration with her own and I had a hard time keeping track which generation was currently speaking. Suggestions: -family tree at the beginning of the book, complete with little faces -dramatis personae (also with little faces)-have a little face next to the narration blocks whenever somebody new starts narrating. I'm sure she has a great story to tell, but she needs to clean up the narration first. However, I did learn why the caged bird sings, so thanks for that much.

  • Aneesa
    2019-04-08 04:09

    Another fine addition to the somewhat-self-centered-young-adult-gets-some-perspective-by-listening-to-his/her-father's-tale-of-struggle-in-his-homeland-during-wartime-and-journey-to-America-then-writes-a-graphic-memoir-about-it genre.

  • Wendy T
    2019-04-13 23:47

    This book was okay, but I found the story didn't flow very well.

  • Edward Sullivan
    2019-04-20 04:08

    Excellent graphic memoir.

  • Amy
    2019-04-10 20:02

    The story in this book kind of reminded me of the Chinese father-daughter team on the Amazing Race Season 11. I don't like them and I did not like this book.

  • *Liz
    2019-04-25 01:50

    The title comes from the author's name: Xuan means "Forget Sorrow" in Chinese. This graphic memoir starts with Belle Yang's life and then continues with his father's family history. It includes the history of China, the turmoil brought first with wars and then Communism, father-son/daughter tensions, sibling rivalries, Chinese traditions and culture, Taoism and Buddhism. Of course, the family history is told by one person. How true and fair it is is questionable. At times I wondered about certain dialogues' sources such as the conversations between the Grandfather and the Third Uncle (74). Beside the family history, there was also the issue of Yang's stalker boyfriend. At the end of the book, it was relieving to see that Yang survived her stalker, however, at the same time, it was worrying to think that the man found a new victim to go after. I liked the drawings overall. The chacarters' emotional ups and downs were clear. It is an upsetting life story in general so there are few scenes to make you smile or laugh. The family drama might seem familiar to some. I found that some traditions regarding elders and relatives were similar to Turkey's culture. "Your problems are like your shadow. The faster you run from your shadow, the faster it runs after you. But if you rest in the shade, your shadow disappears." (46)"If you don't apologize, your days will be painful, and your heart will always be in turmoil. How can you possibly meditate? The bitter sea is limitless. But turn yourself around, and you will soon find yourself securely on land again." (119)"It's time you learned to say a few honeyed words. ... Don't you know old people are just like kids? They like sweets." (119)"... children are like fingers of the hand. Take a bite of any finger and the hand will hurt." (205)

  • Yiming
    2019-04-16 22:39

    Forget Sorrow is about a girl's father's tale of family relationships during WWII, and how it relates to real life. This book is a graphic novel that is very expressive and uses a different art style that is sometimes hard to read. This book talks about how the family lineage came from China, and shows the progress of each generation. This graphic novel is a commitment to read compared to other graphic novels.

  • Barbara Santos
    2019-04-17 03:44

    In 2016 I decided that I was trying to read more and one of my friends told I should start reading graphic novels. It was the best advice! So this year I look up for some in my work and found this graphic novel that I really loved. Is kinda of harsh but at the same time a history of a life with intemperances which is pretty much our lives but, of course at different levels.

  • Monica St. Dennis
    2019-04-12 04:00

    read harder challenge 2018: read a comic written or illustrated by a person of colorpopsugar challenge 2018: read a book by an author of a different ethnicity than youI read that Belle Yang wrote this as prose, first, but had trouble getting it published. I think there's a reason for that.

  • C.N.L.
    2019-04-07 23:07

    Ce conte sino-américain est une vraie merveille. C'est une plongée dans la Chine du XXe siècle avec ses valeurs et ses coutumes. Le dessin à l'encre de chine est absolument magnifique tout en finesse et en simplicité.On referme ce roman graphique avec l'envie que l'histoire continue encore.

  • Chelsea
    2019-03-24 22:04

    Rotten Egg is a really good nickname for a boyfriend-turned-stalker!

  • Anoek
    2019-04-03 00:02

    I liked the graphics but the story couldn't really capture my interest the way I thought it would.

  • Jamie Jones Hullinger
    2019-04-09 00:45

    I give it a 2.5. I have read so many great graphic memoirs and this one just did not measure up.

  • Rachel
    2019-04-22 00:44

    The story was very touching, though the format was a little confusing at times. I feel like I learned a lot.

  • Birgitte Bach
    2019-04-12 02:58

    Interessant, men meget rodet opsætning.

  • Arelis Uribe
    2019-04-11 20:55

    Me compré este libro en un viaje a Estados Unidos. Me tincó porque nunca he leído a una ilustradora china y porque en la recomendación decía que es el "Maus de la revolución cultural". La verdad no sé si es para tanto. Y ésa es mi primera crítica. Goodreads también agrupa este libro junto a Persépolis o algunos de Bechdel. Y no sé si tiene esa calidad. Las ilustraciones funcionan, pero no están al nivel de vanguardia de Art Spiegelman, que se tira a la piscina nomás y explica el holocausto con ratones y gatos. Tampoco tiene la belleza de Marjane Satrapi, aprovechando el blanco y negro al máximo para relatar la historia. Los dibujos son dibujos nomás. Cumplen. La historia sí es linda y en eso sí se parece a Persépolis y Maus, porque estas tres obras cuentan un período de la historia de la humanidad (la revolución en Irán, el holocausto) a partir del relato autobiográfico propio o de los padres. Es lindo leer sobre la cultura china. Lo que significa el honor, la tierra, el patriarca, los mayores. Son morales de otro orden, casi opuestas a la vida "occidental". Salvo en lo del patriarcado, eso es igual en todas partes. Una no sabe que en China, por ejemplo, comen primero los adultos y después los niños, porque los mayores tienen privilegios por el hecho de ser mayores. Cosas así. También se aborda el período de Mao Tse Tung. En China, la máquina asesina fue comunista, en nombre del pueblo y del nacionalismo. Que una sea de izquierda no significa que no pueda indignarse por lo que el fascismo ha producido en nombre de ideas tan nobles. Igual que en Chile y en tantos lados, hubo tortura, exilio, trabajos forzados, revanchismo, injusticias disfrazadas de la búsqueda de la justicia. No sé qué chucha pasa con los seres humanos que pueden ser totalitarios agarrándose de cualquier idea, sea comunitaria o individualista. Me da susto, porque pienso ¿qué me separa a mí de alguien que tortura, de alguien que se nubla con una idea y aplasta a quienes no la comparten? Nada, somos la misma raza humana. A veces pienso que ese monstruo duerme dentro de cada persona y me da susto que algún día algo detone que despierte y yo también pueda hacer daño así. Ojalá que no. Me gustó mucho que fuera intercalando la historia de su familia con las conversaciones que tenía con su papá, sobre el presente, los errores que ella cometió como hija, las diferencias entre haber crecido en China y en Estados Unidos. Hay muchos diálogos entre el padre y la hija que me encanta que hayan incorporado. "You need to depend on your own talents, not a man", le dice su papá. "We must understand the past so that we may understand how we became who we are today", le dice el abuelo a un hijo. "The world is a dangerous place, daughter. You need to read "The art of war"... not to learn how to harm others but to protect yourself", le dice su padre y ella, mientras escucha sus historias, piensa: "I love Baba's stories. I want to be able to give voice to people who are forgotten". Y hacia al final, comienza a elaborar sus propias reflexiones, recogiendo la tradición china: "Baba, there's that Chinese saying, "you need to fight with a man to know a man". También me gustó que los protagonistas de la familia no tuvieran nombre siempre, sino que se les identificara como "hermano mayor", "segundo hermano" o "cuarto hermano". Y en el cómic se dirigen así, entre ellos. Lo encontré bonito. Siento que es más universal aún. En fin, aunque no me gustó mucho la estética sí me gustó la historia. No fue una pérdida de tiempo, al contrario, me hizo pensar cosas y también aprendí.

  • Jocelyn
    2019-04-24 03:09

    Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale is about Belle Yang, who spends a long amount of time listening to her father tell her stories about his family and their lives back in China during Japanese-occupied Manchuria up until Communism becomes widely spread around the country while Belle herself is struggling to escape an abusive ex-boyfriend and comes to terms with not ending up exactly how her parents and she expected.While the style of art isn't exactly my favourite or as aesthetically pleasing to me as other artwork I've seen, I do think Yang has a really great understanding of textures within drawings. Her 2D didn't always seem so, and I liked that she put those textures into her art. The style is also reminiscent of some idea I have of blocky, Communist propaganda-y Chinese art. I don't know if my feelings about the style are in any way founded, but that's just how I feel. I'm sure there's something that Yang's art style reminds me of that I'm not connecting...As for the story, it is a bit jumbled and there are sometimes parts where we skip forward in time and then jump back so some of the main plot threads can be a tad hard to grasp. For the most part, though, Yang recounts her father's stories from the time he was a young boy and the goings-on in the clan households to when he was separated from his family and then to meeting them again. Because the graphic novel covers such a broad expanse of time, there are not as many nuances as maybe some people would prefer (myself included) in the cultural details, but there are certainly some cultural aspects shared with the reader.(view spoiler)[The part where the patriarchal great-grandfather (to Belle; her father's grandfather) goes around during newly Communist China, searching for his children to help him, hurts my heart so much. While I don't agree with some things in the more ancestral attitudes in Chinese culture, I do believe in filial piety when that father has been good to you. Seeing how horribly the great-grandfather's remaining children were treating him (with the exception of Belle's grandfather, the great-grandfather's first son) was extremely upsetting for me. I just imagined my own grandfather in that situation and made me sad. Thank god he was able to find Belle's grandfather. (hide spoiler)]There is one thing I didn't particularly like and it was Belle's father constantly blaming Belle for making shitty life choices and now her abusive ex-boyfriend is stalking her and wanting to kill her, so it's naturally her fault. Thanks for being such an idiot, Belle! /sI understand that how Yang portrays her father in the graphic novel is a mix of fictional and non-fictional, and I know that her father's attitude falls under a typical Chinese parent's attitude towards their children (I can see the parallels within my own family somewhat). However, it was unsettling for me to read since I'm a Millennial and as I enter my mid-twenties that shit would just not fly with me, especially not from my father. I do understand that Yang's father is from a different time, so he acts a different way -- we all have older family members like that -- but I think it's because of my mindset now that reading his attitude towards Belle's lack of agency was so startling. Definitely realistic for the older, Chinese souls though.Forget Sorrow is well-worth checking out if you can. An interesting snapshot into the lives of Chinese people pre- and post-World War II.

  • Lizzie
    2019-04-09 01:48

    I won this copy via LibraryThing's Early Reviewers. So it goes!I liked this. The family story is nice, and the atmosphere is really strong. I liked seeing a lot of everyday-life stories about early 20th-century China, and these make the book very illuminating. RIYL Persepolis-es. The family relationships are cool, but this narrative is a tad bland at times, as nonfiction can be when it isn't exceptionally well-structured. It's hard to give a fantastic climax to real life. Don't we know it!My favorite parts were the meditative conversations the author's grandfather and great-grandfather had, and their parallels with Belle and her dad, which elevate the book to something rarer and more special. Those lessons are good. "I'm just going in circles. I'm stuck."/"If your soul achieves peace, you can attain your goals." And especially: "Do not become attached even to your anger."The theme that Belle is hiding at her parents' to escape an abusive, stalking boyfriend and recover from her terror -- it sets up her opportunity to be told this story by her father, but I was frustrated by the framing sometimes. It's maybe a little too important to be such a small player in this story.The ARC has some copy issues that will need to be cleaned up, so hopefully there won't be many problems in the first editions. There's some misaligned type (words that don't fit into their bubbles), some asterisks that don't have follow-up notes, some panels where the person in the inset says, "Inset: [whatever I am saying!:]" Also, one panel looked like it had an accidental run-in with the "eraser" cursor in Photoshop. But I could read around those easily enough. And I'm pretty glad I did so.

  • Laura
    2019-04-16 01:59

    I feel honored to have been given an advanced copy of Forget Sorrow, as it will surely be placed among the greats of the graphic memoir subgenre. Like Maus, Persepolis, Fun Home, and Epileptic, it uses sequential art as a perfect medium for presenting an autobiographical narrative. Bell Yang's background in calligraphy is evident in her elegant line art, evoking both Classic Chinese drawings and traditional cartooning.The book is about the expectations and assumptions that parents have for their children and those that kids have for their parents. Belle Yang (here referred to by her Chinese name Xuan) moves back with her parents after cutting ties with her abusive boyfriend, chillingly portrayed as a mouthless giant. As she receives both criticism and compassion from her father, he tells her the story of his youth and their ancestral home back in China. His grandfather was a landowner before the Communists took over, a patriarch to four sons and their families. He would eventually lose his land and position of authority and see both betrayal and boundless devotion from his sons.The memoir also tells of Xuan and her father and how they meet half-way in their differences. Their compromises show the importance of coming to terms with the mistakes you have made that have hurt yourself and others, and being willing to forgive others and yourself. The book also perfectly demonstrates the powers of familial love and finding your own self-worth.

  • Sj
    2019-03-30 03:48

    If I could give half stars, I would give this a 3.5. This is the first Graphic Memoir I have read about a Chinese Family. Being part Chinese, I was thankful for the opportunity to read this. I enjoyed the historical aspects of this book. It helps to understand the times by reading about real life experiences (or what one person's first, second, and sometimes even third account of memories are provided). What I didn't like about this book is that it was often confusing. There was so much going back in history and changing from one person to another that I couldn't always keep track of what place in time the story was being told and who a particular part was about. It would be nice if there was some kind of tell in each cell so that we would know exactly when and who the story was about. Maybe I am the only one who felt like this, but when her father tells her the story telling is confusing, I felt like I was justified in feeling that. I really enjoyed seeing the dynamics of the Yang family. It explained A LOT about some members of my family. It helped me understand a little bit more of the dynamics of my Chinese American relatives. I enjoyed that aspect. I would recommend this book to others, especially to other Chinese Americans who may not understand the dynamics of tradition and culture with their Chinese relatives. But it is also a good book for anyone interested.

  • Stargirl
    2019-04-10 19:49

    I'm sad to say I'm a little bit disappointed. Mostly because I rarely buy graphic novels and I took my time to go through the bookstore to chose this title that appealed the most to me and seemed to be very interesting and at the end, I got one book that felt messy and a little bit flat.Which I find hard to say because this is a memoir, or at least the author's family story and it is without a doubt worthy to be told. Be it for the family story and the important historical times it talked about.I just felt the execution lacking. The transitions are non-existent and since the art is very similar from one period to another, it is confusing. Maybe it is suposed to translate the "oral" aspect of the story. We all know how you can change course of what you're talking and go from one subject to another and then get back to your original point. Since Belle Yang got the story from her father (orally) maybe that's was on purpose to translate it to the page?In any case, it did not work well on me...

  • Lucile Barker
    2019-04-17 02:06

    185. Forget Sorrow: an Ancestral Tale by Belle YangThis graphic novel chronicles the history of the Yang family, from their earliest origins in China to the present generation living in America. I really enjoyed the drawings in this and the artist was able to engage me in the story as well. The four brothers and their father all look related, but the reader is able to differentiate between them because of the details in her drawing. There is the Japanese invasion and the Second World War. The coming of the Mao years changes the family’s fortunes completely. Yang starts the story in 1985 when she has returned home to California to hide from an abusive ex-boyfriend who is stalking her. Her father encourages her art and calligraphy and tells her the family stories, which she illustrates. The family scandals and interactions are depicted in both words and pictures and she does these equally well. As she draws, she recovers from her relationship and becomes even closer to her parents.

  • Heidi
    2019-04-10 03:02

    Interesting graphic novel rendition of Chinese ancestral stories, told to a Chinese-American woman by her father. The book goes through the early settlement of villages outside the Great Wall, then skips to just before the Japanese invasion and World War II. The author's father managed to escape to Taiwan, then made his way to Japan to get an education before arriving in America. But the rest of his family was trapped in China, former landowners in a country that now hated capitalists.The story was good, but I didn't feel like the graphics added much. They weren't the simple-yet-poignant pictures of, say, Persepolis. They were loud and Cubist-style, and they didn't really speak to me. Besides, I couldn't tell any of the people apart; other than Fourth Brother (who wore glasses), everyone else (male and female) was dressed in long, flowing robes and a hat. I never quite knew who was speaking.

  • Terry
    2019-04-04 21:04

    I was a wee bit disappointed in this book, as I was expecting a contemporary memoir (that is, a book about herself and her life). It's mainly a history of her family, focusing mainly on the 20th century, on her paternal grandparents and great-grandparents. For those who like Dr. Zhivago-like histories of the transition from early 20th-century to post-World War II/Communist society, you'll really like this book; or if you just enjoy Chinese history and culture in general (I'm thinking this would be a good book for fans of Anchee Min's Red Azalea, one of my favorite books) you probably would as well. Yang briefly mentions a horrific story from her own life that, I'm embarrassed to say, I really wanted to hear more about. I hope some day she writes about herself with the care and sensitivity with which she writes about her paternal heritage.