Six Chapters from My Life Downunder (Renditions Books)

Six Chapters from My Life Downunder (Renditions Books) By Now The World Is Familiar With The Disastrous Consequences Of The Ten Year Period In China S History Known As The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution The Mistakes Of Mao Zedong S Later Years Have Been Officially Acknowledged, And The Infamous Gang Of Four Publicly Tried And Sentence For Their Crimes But On The Cultural Front The Thaw Had No Sooner Come Than Gone A Campaign Against What Is Regarded As Spiritual Pollution Is Being Waged To Inhibit Free Expression Among Creative WritersThousands Of Scholars, Authors, Respected Professors And Academicians, Who As A Class Were The Most Persecuted In What Some Observers Called China S Holocaust, Are Back At Their Respective Stations, Bent Over The Task Of Modernization For Understandable Reasons, Few Have Written Candidly About Their Experiences During The Cultural Revolution Yang Jiang Is An Outstanding ExceptionIn This Memoir She Give A Poignant Account Of The Than Two Years She And Her Husband Were Sent Downunder To The Barren Countryside For Reeducation Through Labor Yang Jiang Touches Upon Any Horrendous Acts Only In Passing, Or By Indirection Mainly She Relates In Well Tempered Tones The Everyday Incidents At Their Cadre School Which Add Up To A Harrowing TalePatterned After Shen Fu S Six Chapters Of A Floating Life, A Minor Classic Of The Qing Dynasty, Six Chapters Form My Life Downunder Is A Testimony Of Remarkable Sophistication, And At The Same Time A Powerful Indictment Of The Madness Of Ignorant, Totalitarian Rule The Author Writes In A Subtle, Almost Allegorical Style, Letting The Reader Share In Her Skepticism, Disappointment, And Frustration With The People, Or The System, Responsible For What Was Done To Her Family And Her Fellow Victims More In Sorrow Than In Anger, Here And There With A Touch Of Wry Humor, She Records The Backwardness And Distrust Of The Peasants Who Were Their Masters The Utter Waste Of Human Resources The Vicious Nature Of Political Campaigns And The People Involved In Them And, Above All, The Devotion Between Husband And Wife Which Kept Them Going Throughout Their Ordeal While Describing A Society In One Of Its Darkest Moments, Yang Jiang Reaffirms The Endurance Of HumanityAlthough Yang Jiang Lives In Beijing, Six Chapters From My Life Downunder First Appeared In A Hong Kong Magazine In April , And Was Published In Book Form There In The Following Month, Attracting Wide Attention It Was Published In The People S Republic Of China Later That Year The Edition Sold Out Quickly And No Subsequent Printings Have Been Available The Present English Translation, First Published In The Journal Renditions, Is Issued Here In Slightly Revised Form And With The Addition Of Footnotes And Background Notes

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  • Paperback
  • 128 pages
  • Six Chapters from My Life Downunder (Renditions Books)
  • Jiang Yang
  • English
  • 02 June 2019
  • 9780295966441

10 thoughts on “Six Chapters from My Life Downunder (Renditions Books)

  1. says:

    This slim volume is one of the first published recollections of the Cultural Revolution The title, in both English and Chinese, is a reference to Six Records of a Floating Life , the story of the Qing Dynasty writer The writer of the foreword admittedly doesn t like that book, but he appreciates the reference For one, his wife, the author, has a resilient attitude than the other guy ever did And they do not stay in their own house and travel of their own free will, but are sent to the countryside to perform manual labor, despite their advanced age But the two books do have similarities Both, in their own way, focus on the vagaries of the individual cast aside by fate, and how they held together by the bonds of human emotion And like Six Records of a Floating Life , there are less than six chapters, less than the title suggests This implies that there is something missing, something not yet told One possible explanation is that it deliberately understates or moves away from the most violent images of the Cultural Revolution lurid stories of airplane torture or struggle sessions The worst story is about their son in law who committed suicide under pressure to name other students for torture This is told in about two paragraphs, and then they move on It is conspicuous by the fact that is not there She does not directly invoke the extreme political circumstances, but has just enough veiled references to invoke them metaphor Take one chapter on the stray dog she takes in, Xiao Yu The underlying story about the dog is that you can t always trust people and human relationships for fear of betrayal or denunciation, but you can always trust a dog There are direct meditations, like the feeling of being lost while wandering home in the night, or how durable of rope and tempered metal compared to human flesh and bone which I ve quoted above The book is also interesting from its analysis of conditions out in the countryside Take, for example, outhouse manure The villagers kept stealing it from the work camp This could be a pungent metaphor for the intelligentsia and the peasants, or the real gaps in class Those who were sent to do manual labor felt a bond that no outsider could breach, but the villagers even so they resented their comparative wealth and often stole the surplus The urban intellectuals were forced to be farmers, but the actual farmers saw it as just play acting, not a real experience of their deprivation All else aside, Yang Jiang takes this with a stoic fatalism When they visit the village years later and see their entire camp is bulldozed and nothing remains of their irrigation canals and crops, that is a potent summary of the Cultural Revolution It was all such a waste, of human life, of labor, and if nothing else all the following generations of political leadership have tried so stridently, so desperately to avoid it or even avoid discussing it In the early stages of the book, Yang Jiang wondered aloud to her husband if they d make it to 70 Yang Jiang passed away in May 2016, at age 104, a foundation stone of contemporary Chinese literature.

  2. says:

    Nikdy bych nev ila, e n co takov ho prohl s m o vzpom nkov knize z let p ev chovy b hem Kulturn revoluce, ale tahle kniha je prost naprosto kouzeln V t ina nsk ch knih, kter jsem v posledn dob etla, byla pln p ny, n sil , zloby a bezmoci J to ch pu, nest uju si, pln tomu rozum m, ale Jang iang napsala n co pln jin ho.To je d ma, kter pro ila v n bezm la sto let, 1911 2016, to musel b t neuv iteln ivot Ve sv tl sb rce vzpom nek na nucen pobyt na venkov sice zmi uje smrt, d inu a str d n , ale in tak jen letmo, mimod k, jako dotykem mot l ho k dla Zato se podrobn v nuje popisu sv zelin sk zahr dky, popisuje humorn historky o lejnu doslova , lyricky l sv bloud n opu t nou krajinou, na mnoha m stech odkazuje na klasickou nskou literaturu, cituje b sn ky a styd se Ta kniha je nesm rn osobn a pocitov , je jako impresionistick obraz n eho o kliv ho, ale n dhern namalovan Ona dok e ve v t o klivosti vid t pln jin v ci, jak sama stoj mimo o klivost a nad o klivost Je to i n n p b h, ne k nic v slovn , ale z jej ch vah a drobn ch starost p mo i l ska k jej mu mu i, kter ho p evychov vali nedaleko, ale p esto jinde Ob ma u bylo p es edes t, fyzicky na tom nebyli pln nejl p, ale i vprost ed zmaru si zachov vali podivuhodnou vnit n integritu, to je patrn zejm na ve vzpom nce est , O absurdit Fale n pomluva Pro m ta kniha po tom v em byla jako pohlazen Pro n koho jin ho to nejsp bude pln jinak Ale to nevad , stejn si ji p e t te, stoj za to.

  3. says:

    This gem is absolutely remarkable It is a thin volume, and is unique in that it doesn t have a typical American style cover The cover, handwritten is almost like a visual poem.lovely, spare and stark.Yang Jiang writes about her experiences in the cultural revolution in China, but on a very personal level Heroic, but simple efforts are required to see her husband often, the conditions that she lives in, pets that are acquired, the work that she does, and family background weave a most insightful and unique view of these years Her way of writing about the politics of this time are very subtle and understated I am reminded of looking at this time through the wrong end of a telescope.This is most certainly classic literature at its best.

  4. says:

    Jiang Yang was a writer and scholar in China who, with her husband, was caught up in the Cultural Revolution is the 60s and sent to be reeducated in the country Although she describes nothing like the Soviet Gulag, the experience must have been horrible for her The book is small, the incidents seem trivial and it s all heartbreaking.Two of the themes that run through the book are that China s intellectuals or even just city people and its peasants were mutually distrustful and generally incompatible The idea of sending the city intellectuals to the country was to teach them the superiority of the peasant way of life All that seems to have accomplished is further distrust and incompatibility Another big theme is waste Jiang was in her 50s 60s at this time and wasn t able to do a lot of heavy work Most of the intellectuals that were to be reeducated were in or near her age bracket and were virtually useless for doing the tasks they had been sent to the country for So often they spent time supervising or less Another waste was watching propaganda films or discussing political theory As a personal look at the Cultural Revolution this book is a must While it doesn t show savagery, torture or the pillaging of the intellectual s houses, it is a bemused and fascinating study.

  5. says:

    Kniha je zaj mav , ale dok i si p edstavit, jak moc ji ubral p eklad na kvalit S t m se bohu el ned nic d lat..

  6. says:

    We had been sent to cadre school to work and had nothing to do, but it was forbidden to leave First published in 1982, A Cadre School Life Six Chapters is Yang Jiang s account of the two years she and her husband Qian Zhongshu spent in the reform camps established for intellectuals in China during the Cultural Revolution The structure of the book is based on the Chinese classic Six Chapters on a Floating Life, a connubial biography that is only significant for being a record of early 19th century gender inequality apparently Qian Zhongshu dislikes this book too, as he notes in the forward to his wife s memoir Anyway, Yang Jiang s writing is well worth reading, both for being one of the few published accounts of life in a cadre school and for the strength and subtlety of her writing In depicting her life in the cadre school, where she overseas a vegetable garden and participates in political reeducation, she highlights the school s sheer waste of human resources and the oppressiveness of the its anti bourgeois teachings without condemning the forces that sent her there Although Yang Jiang refrains from outright condemnation, one has the sense, when she writes at the end of the memoir, those years provided me with a rare and unforgettable experience, that hers is an experience she wishes had never befallen her or the twenty million other Chinese intellectuals sent to reformation camps during that time.

  7. says:

    The true story of an intellectual and her husband sent to cadre schools during the Cultural Revolution It s a sharp criticism of the nonsensical events and human mistreatment without a single outwardly negative statement Simply written but clear, heartfelt and offering a unique perspective on the Cultural Revolution filled with a quiet inner strength and love for family.

  8. says:

    this translation is good for us, who are majoring in chinese literature studies and by this version, we can see the true historical backgrounds in Yang s Wen Ge period 1966 1976 the translator s rendition is vivid in language and faithful in content.

  9. says:

    transaltor has done a good job, keeping the sipirit of the original from Yang.

  10. says:

    She is one of my most favorite authors, a master of Chinese language, always writing in simple but soul touching style.

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