Red Azalea by Anchee Min (PDF)



Ebook Info

  • Published: 2011
  • Number of pages: 324 pages
  • Format: PDF
  • File Size: 1.26 MB
  • Authors: Anchee Min


A revelatory and disturbing portrait of China, this is Anchee Min’s celebrated memoir of growing up in the last years of Mao’s China. As a child, Min was asked to publicly humiliate a teacher; at seventeen, she was sent to work at a labor collective. Forbidden to speak, dress, read, write, or love as she pleased, she found a lifeline in a secret love affair with another woman. Miraculously selected for the film version of one of Madame Mao’s political operas, Min’s life changed overnight. Then Chairman Mao suddenly died, taking with him an entire world. This national bestseller and New York Times Notable Book is exceptional for its candor, its poignancy, its courage, and for its prose which Newsweek calls “as delicate and evocative as a traditional Chinese brush painting.”

User’s Reviews

Reviews from Amazon users which were colected at the time this book was published on the website:

⭐Devoured the book. Captured my interest and never lost it. But, i did stumble at the author’s relationship with Yan when it became physically intimate. The details force the reader to participate as an observer. The author should keep the intimate private. Perhaps an editorial comment as a footnote would refocus the reader on the culture of living under a totalitarian system that micromanages even sexual behavior: who can have intimacy with who and when and under what conditions, with who’s permission. The One Child Policy is an example of unintended consequences of socialism. Forced abortions under the rigorously enforced One Child Policy has lead to persecution and subsequent suicide of pregnant women and mothers. The Policy has forced parents to select boys and abort girls as a form of private old-age-security. Traditionally and practically, boys were favored because China was largely rural and agrarian and a man was suited to farm while a woman was suited to be a wife and mother. The insidious One Child Policy has produced too many men and too few women. Hundreds of millions of Chinese men will never have a wife or family. Further, with a super abundance of testosterone shloshing about men in their prime, the only option may be the Army to channel their aggression and caged frustrations. The Army will be increasingly involved in aggressive adventurism and the ruling elite will encourage war as a means of population control. The elite will purposely place the Army where the risk to life is greatest in order to slaughter hundreds of millions of male soldiers. Stalin did exactly this during the great purges of the third decade of the 20th century. Stalin, as a matter of policy, murdered and starved to death the Kulaks and rural peasants and completely destroyed the Army in the Soviet by placing it where it would be slaughtered as a means of discipline and preserving his power. The Army of the Soviet Union was destroyed to the extent that in had to be reconstituted over subsequent decades. Stalin and his sycophant henchmen were stone-cold ruthless. The Chinese Communists who covet their power and control over their enslave population will do the same to maintain “order and stability.”

⭐This book, to me, started out with the current book-club favorite theme of ‘overcoming a significant obstacle to grow and go to another country’. Please don’t mind the tongue in cheek. Anyway, as it rolled along, I did find myself becoming engaged in and with the main character and beginning to know the folks around her. I ended up liking the book. Especially because it kind of proved that not everybody goes along societal upheaval: change is difficult for everybody everywhere. We don’t change until we absolutely have to and even then, we do it reluctantly. What I found especially interesting is that the author and I are very close in age. Here in the United States, Black Americans were stepping up and facing the fight for our Civil Rights. In China, civil rights were diminishing painfully. I was wearing miniskirts and my afro and going to college; she, on the other hand, was really struggling to live. My family didn’t have much but through education, I achieved access to whatever I wanted. Her family didn’t have much but finally through education, she achieved access to whatever she wanted. I don’t know that I could have lived the life she did, and she probably feels the same way.

⭐Red Azalea is a wonderfully written book by Anchee Min. Her narrative is rich in description as it takes the reader into her world during Mao’s reign. This was the first book I read about that period in China where we see how people had to camouflage their emotions in such a hard and cruel world. As a child growing up in the 70’s, the rhetoric used scared everyone to think that the people in China were robots who didn’t feel. I thought the Chinese lacked human emotion because I did not realize just how oppressive the government was on its people.Reading Anchee Min’s book revealed that under the blanket of fear were real human emotions alive and bubbling during such a repressive time. I highly recommend this book to everyone in order to understand the human element of the Chinese during the last years of the cultural revolution!

⭐Having read Becoming Madame Mao before reading Red Azalea blunted the impact. Both essentially use the same plot background. Nevertheless, Red Azalea was a good (and easy) read. The narration almost carries a feeling of a monotone in the telling but the blunt force of the brutal Mao regime balances any intimacies. We need to remind ourselves from what the Chinese are now recovering–and that cruelty and incredible backwardness still lingers in that society. That passion which is revealed is sad, for it comes from great loneliness and lack of family. I’m curious as to how Anchee Min got through the process of coming to the U.S. and what her life has since become. I’d like to know more about her parents and how her siblings fared. I was left hanging.

⭐Anchee Min has been out there for a while now and the accolades have seemingly died off. This is unfortunate but mirrors the way American readers, at least, tend to mostly get caught up in the whatever is newest thing. Initially enthralled, we may now sadly have become inured to the way, like many of the Chinese writers of her (our) generation, Anchee Min will no doubt have to bear the burden of the cultural revolution for the rest of her days. That her books are one of the ways she works this out is inevitable. Infinitely and intimately personal, Min helps us to see our own fearful blindness, greed, lust, and envy, while simultaneously challenging us with hope. Red Azalea is just one of the true life stories she uses to capture what it is like to try and be a human being in our world in which, after all, no country is more than a generation away from yet another “cultural revolution.” Would that we all could be so courageous.

⭐I recently read an article about Anchee and her latest book. I’m always amazed and fascinated to read about life during the cultural revolution being of similar age to Anchee.. What was happening in her life was so dreadful compared to my own, and I’m just a regular girl who grew up in UK. Her writing is wonderful, full of little snippets from Chinese proverbs. Although it is a personal account it’s easy to read as she has a marvellous story to tell. A powerful and remarkable story, would thoroughly recommend this book. I’m just about to start on her sequel – The Cooked Seed.

⭐Prompt delivery, book was in very good condition. I was totally absorbed in the book from start to finish. I thought it was an incredulous story, which gave a detailed insight into the lives of The Chinese during the Cultural Revolution – in particular the Author. What an incredible time she endured in the labour camp. This was a thoroughly educational book for anyone who is interested in fairly recent Chinese history. Highly recommended.

⭐it just didnt seem as real as other books i have read by chinese writers

⭐I read Red Azalea in a weekend, in between bike rides and runs in the Andes. I could feel my heart breaking as the words swept by. I didn’t want the book to end, but at the same time wanted it all to be over as soon as possible. I would love for everyone to read this book.



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