Publication Date: 09/07/2020 ISBN: 9781448217892 Category:

The Promise

Xinran Xue, William Spence

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication Date: 09/07/2020 ISBN: 9781448217892 Category:
Paperback / Softback




A spellbinding and magical narrative, this is the story of modern China through the women who lived through it.

At the start of the twentieth century in China, the Hans were married in an elaborate ceremony before they were even born. They went on to have nine children and chose colours portrayed in some of their favourite poems as nicknames for them – Red, Cyan, Orange, Yellow, Green, Green Tangerine, Purple, Blue and Rainbow. Fate, and the sweep of twentieth-century history, would later divide them.

Xinran begins with the magic and tragedy of one young couple’s wedding night in 1949, and goes on to tell personal experiences of loss, grief and hardship through China’s extraordinary century. In doing so she tells a bigger story – how traditional Chinese values have been slowly eroded by the tide of modernity and how their outlooks on love, and the choices they’ve made in life, have been all been affected by the great upheavals of Chinese history.

Publisher Review

A brilliant storyteller. -- Hilary Spurling This book cracks the code of love, loneliness, and belonging in contemporary China. -- Xiaolu Guo, author of 'Once Upon a Time in the East' Reporting on four generations of one Chinese family and their diverging paths, Xinran shows how the country's social norms have changed through politics and the rise of modernity. * New York Times * Xinran Xue is a gifted storyteller and The Promise reads like an unputdownable novel. William Spence's translation from Chinese into English cannot be over-praised. * Washington Book Review * 'An absorbing, often startling, always persuasive exploration of contemporary China.' -- Hilary Spurling on 'Buy Me The Sky' * The Spectator * [A] graceful work that restores a lost generation to history. * Kirkus Review * One would have to have a heart of stone not to be moved. * The Economist on 'Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother' * Groundbreaking... This intimate record reads like an act of defiance, and the unvarnished prose allows each story to stand as testimony. * The New Yorker on 'The Good Women of China' * 'Right here we see the red lines that many Chinese still draw for themselves in public discourse, or even privately, the boundaries they dare not cross even today. No other style of storytelling could have exhibited them with more clarity or greater rawness.' -- Oliver August on 'China Witness' * THE TIMES * Exploring love and loss in modern China is a big job but it is in simplifying the overwhelming that Xinran excels. And in the introduction to this compelling and moving book, the author clarifies just how she has managed the task...In these carefully told vignettes, Xinran takes the reader through a century of tumult and change in China, her writing beautifully reflecting the intimate and honest voices of the women whose stories of love she tells. * The Weekend Australian * 'Xinran writes with a fine balance of economy, compassion and wisdom, and manages to be at once proud, critical, forward-looking, nostalgic, sad, angry and hopeful.' * The New Statesman *

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