Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
There are books that you want to read a second time and Jung Chang's Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China is one. I read the story soon after its publication, back in 1991, but gave it to someone on loan and never saw it again. I like to tell myself the recipient couldn't bear to part with it. However, I have recently bought myself this replacement copy and am so glad that I did.
Still banned in China because of criticism of Mao Zedong, the true story of Jung Chang's mother and maternal grandmother plunges her reader into the pain and horror of that country's troubled history during the 20th century. A sobering read, its importance cannot be exaggerated in helping us understand a land which increasingly reaches into every aspect of our own lives. At over 500 pages, it is a serious history book, yet it also grips like the best historical thriller.
If I share the opening lines, you will see what I mean:
"At the age of fifteen my grandmother became the concubine of a warlord general, the police chief of a tenuous national government of China. The year was 1924 and China was in chaos."
Something for your Christmas book present list perhaps?