Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Long March Home





Title:  The Long March Home
Author:  Zoe S. Roy
Pages:  270
Year:  2011
Publisher:  Inanna Publications and Education Inc.
                Zoe Roy has written a very poignant novel with The Long March Home.  Set during the Cultural Revolution in China for the most part, this story is very realistic and thought-provoking.  “It was so easy during this time to be misunderstood, and then accused,” thinks one of the main characters, Meihua.  The author herself lived under the late Mao Zedong’s rule and therefore has a lot of experience with this subject matter.
                Meihua Wei is a half-American, half-Chinese, art teacher who has been living in China for over 15 years.  She is married to a Chinese man, and their children have been born in China.  Due to her heritage, she has always been viewed as suspicious, but during the Red Terror this has never been truer.  She is falsely accused, publically humiliated and condemned, then sent to prison for “reformation” with a sentence of 13 years.  She did absolutely nothing wrong and was a loyal Communist; yet, because of her parentage that was enough to convict her.  Also, denouncing teachers, doctors and other learned professions was another way to implement Mao’s Cultural Revolution.  She leaves her two youngest children in the care of her servant as her husband lives and works in a labor camp.  He sends money, but he can’t live with his family and take care of them.  The family’s loyal servant, Yao, raises these two children as her own without pay.  The fear and terror the author evokes as these poor people live their lives, having to watch their every action and word is stunning.  They never know who might be watching and waiting to denounce them.
                Yezi has grown up while her mother has been imprisoned and is a delightful girl.  She is smart, brave and curious.  Her mother gets released early from prison and shortly thereafter they receive a letter from Meihua’s American mother, wanting to re-establish contact.  She has been searching for them for several years.  Eventually, Mao dies and the new leader begins to open up relations between nations.  Meihua’s mother is able to finally meet Yezi.  Yezi wants to explore her heritage and soon a search is underway for Meihua’s father, whom she has never met.  How will they ever find him?
                Within this story, there is a revolution within a revolution as “…the people, who put me behind bars, are using the Cultural Revolution to disrupt Mao’s authority and destroy China.”  This is voiced by a prisoner celled with Meihua.  Also, the story of family ties, survival, sacrifice for others and love are depicted.  I found this book to be very interesting, informative and well-written. 
My rating is 4 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457
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