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Cover for Confessions


An Innnocent Life in Communist China

Kang Zhengguo, Susan Wilf (Translated by)


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (6/17/2008)


A revealing memoir of human resilience in the face of nightmarish power.

With clear vision this intimate memoir draws us into the intersections of everyday life and Communist power from the first days of "Liberation" in 1949 through the Tiananmen Square protests and after. The son of a professional family, Kang Zhengguo is a free spirit, drawn to literature. In Mao's China, these innocuous circumstances expose him at the age of twenty to a fierce struggle session, expulsion from university, and a four-year term of hard labor in Xian's Number Two Brickyard. So begins his long stay in the prison-camp system, a story of hardship and poignance, of warmth and humor in the face of cruelty. He finally escapes the Chinese gulag by forfeiting his identity: at age twenty-eight he is adopted by an aging bachelor in a peasant village, which enables him to start a new life. Rehabilitated after Mao's death, Kang finds himself still subject to the recurring nightmare of party authority.

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393064674, 480pp.

Publication Date: June 17, 2007

About the Author

Kang Zhengguo is senior lector of Chinese at Yale University. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Susan Wilf teaches at George School in Pennsylvania and was awarded a PEN Translation Fund Grant for Confessions.