By Anchee Min
(Anchor, Paperback, 9781400096985, 320pp.)
Publication Date: April 11, 2006
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Red Azalea is Anchee Min’s celebrated memoir of growing up in the last years of Mao’s China. As a child, she 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. A revelatory and disturbing portrait of China, Anchee Min’s memoir 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."
Born in Shanghai in 1957, Anchee Min came to American in 1984. While attending English as a Second Language classes, she worked as a waitress, a house cleaner, a fabric painter, and a model. In 1990 she received a Masters of Fine Arts Degree from the Art Institute of Chicago. Min wrote Red Azalea in English over an eight-year period. It won the Carl Sandburg LIterary Award in 1993 and was a New York Times Notable Book.
"[An] extraordinary story. . . . This memoir of sexual freedom is [both] a powerful political as well as literary statement."
—The New York Times Book Review
"The book sings. It is a small masterpiece. . . [No one] has written more honestly and poignantly than Anchee Min about the desert of solitude and human alienation at the center of the Chinese Communist revolution." —Vogue
"Gripping. . . .reads like raw testimony. . .epic drama, and. . .poetic incantation. . . . It was passion and despair that made [Min] fearless; it was fearlessness that made her a writer."
—The New York Times
"Stunning. . . . Min's is a distinct and moving voice speaking out of a cauldron of history."
—Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Brave and heartbreaking."
—The Miami Herald