In a sweeping story that moves gracefully from the intimately personal to the great stage of world history, Anchee Min renders a powerful tale of passion, betrayal, and survival and creates a finely nuanced and always ambiguous portrait of one of the most fascinating women of the twentieth century.
Madame Mao is almost universally known as the "white-boned demon" - ambitious, vindictive, and cruel - whose bid to succeed her husband led to the death of millions. But Min's story begins with a young girl named Yunhe, the unwanted daughter of a concubine who ignored the pleas of her mother and refused to have her feet bound. It was the first act of rebellion for this headstrong, beautiful, and charismatic girl who fled the miseries of her family life, first to a provincial opera troupe, then to Shanghai and fame as an actress, and finally to the arid, mountainous regions of Yenan, where she fell in love with and married Mao Zedong. The great revolutionary leader proved to be an inattentive husband with an insatiable appetite for infidelity, but the couple stayed together through the Communist victory, the disastrous Great Leap Forward, and the chaos of the Cultural Revolution.
Min uses the facts of history and her lush, penetrating psychological imagination to take us beyond the myth of this woman who so greatly influenced an entire generation of Chinese. The result is a tragic love story of epic proportions and a novel that has all the compressed drama and high lyrical poetry of grand opera. Becoming Madame Mao will be a literary event.
Min tells the "fascinating and expertly drawn" story of the woman known as the "white-boned demon" responsible for the excesses of the Cultural Revolution. Penetrating the myth, Min paints an "original" portrait of a woman driven by ambition, betrayal, and an unfulfilled need for love. Written in "spare but graceful prose," our booksellers thoroughly recommend this one.