Colors of the Mountain is a classic story of triumph over adversity, a memoir of a boyhood full of spunk, mischief, and love, and a welcome introduction to an amazing young writer.
Da Chen was born in 1962, in the Year of Great Starvation. Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution engulfed millions of Chinese citizens, and the Red Guard enforced Mao's brutal communist regime. Chen’s family belonged to the despised landlord class, and his father and grandfather were routinely beaten and sent to labor camps, the family of eight left without a breadwinner. Despite this background of poverty and danger, and Da Chen grows up to be resilient, tough, and funny, learning how to defend himself and how to work toward his future. By the final pages, when his says his last goodbyes to his father and boards the bus to Beijing to attend college, Da Chen has become a hopeful man astonishing in his resilience and cheerful strength.
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Now a writer living in New York, Da Chen describes his youth in mainland China with engaging humor and affecting warmth. It's often a harrowing tale: born in 1962, Chen was the grandson of a landlord, which rendered his entire family pariahs during the Cultural Revolution. And though initially an excellent student, he was ostracized in school and told he could never attend college. He responded by making friends with a group of young thugs who drank, smoked, and gambled but were kind to him. After Mao died in 1976, the budding juvenile delinquent discovered that higher education might be available to him after all. Chen worked hard to make up for years of neglected studies, and his memoir closes with a jubilant scene as he and his brother Jin are both accepted into college; for his suffering family, "thirty years of humiliation had suddenly come to an end." Chen's lucid yet emotional prose unsparingly portrays a topsy-turvy society where unfairness reigns and the rules are arbitrarily changed without warning, but his zest for life and sharp eye for character make even the most awful moments grimly funny. This is no saga of victimization, but a thrilling account of an ordeal that fosters spiritual growth. Readers will cheer Chen's triumph over daunting odds. --Wendy SmithFrom the Back Cover:
"Here is that rarity in these times, a truly marvelous book". big-hearted and humorous, written in simple, evocative prose." -The Denver Post
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