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Paperback Mr. China's Son: A Villager's Life Book

ISBN: 0813317304

ISBN13: 9780813317304

Mr. China's Son: A Villager's Life

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

He Liyi belongs to one of China's minorities, the Bai, and he lives in a remote area of northwestern Yunnan Province. In 1979 his wife sold her fattest pig to buy him a shortwave radio. He spent every spare moment listening to the BBC and VOA in order to improve the English he had learned at college between 1950 and 1953. For "further practice," he decided to write down his life story in English. Humorous and unfiltered by translation, his autobiography...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A small man in stature, humble but with a presence to behold

This book conveys so many emotions, from all of this one is left almost numb. But having met the man, He LiYi, I can say that this book is a mirror of the man in real life. All that comes out in this book is so exact, in his mannerisms and gentle voice. He is so unassuming and modest, and does not appear to be capable of such strength and determination. This book lets you see that we are all capable of making a difference if only small. I had no knowledge of this book untill I visited his cafe in Dali, I purchased the book directly from him and now pass it to all who are interested. A truly powerful book full of what these people, the Bai, have had to endure at the hands of the ever present "Mr China".

A most moving account of a villager's life in China

Mr He Liyi has written one of the most moving accounts of life during the cultural revolution in China. From his normal life of a government servant through the indignitiy moving to the countryside to live as a peasant, his reform through labour and his utter determination to learn English. He Liyi's writing style is simple and personal, the book was written by him in English, no small feat for someone living in the middle of China and with little formal English training. I met He Liyi in the small town of Dali where he lives by chance in the post office. Myself and friend spent many hours at his little cafe in Dali enjoying his company and his stories. For someone whom China has done no favours during his life, he is determined to make things better and continue living his life to the full. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Moving account of survival during Cultural Revolution.

Mr. China's Son is the very moving story of a remarkable man who was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution for the crime of having been educated to speak English. From his job in a labor reform camp tending water buffaloes, he eventually is released and becomes a peasant farmer. He later becomes a middle school English teacher in a remote mountain school in Yunnan province. Along the way he picks up a cadre of foreign friends and correspondents and wins a trip to England from the BBC. I have been corresponding with Mr. He since 1983, and was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to review his manuscript for this book (778 pages) prior to its publication. Even though we have never met in person, I consider him one of my closest friends and one of the most fascinating people I've ever known. His book is being used as a text in many colleges in history/Asian studies courses. He frequently is called to meet with visiting student groups or visiting college professors who have used his book in their studies. Mr. He's two sons are both college graduates. The younger son, He Lu-Zhong, won a trip to Germany some years ago and recently completed a year of study in Bangkok, Thailand. The older son, He Lu-Jiang, teaches English at Dali Medical College, has a young son of his own. Mr. He and Lu-Jiang are currently working on an English language book about tourist attractions in the Dali area. Mr. China's Son is definitely a must read!

Better than Wild Swans!

The book about the Cultural Revolution which is best known in the West is probably Wild Swans. If you enjoyed that, then this is a "must read". The events and story are just as interesting, if not more so, but in addition this book is far better written. One senses the enormous challenge and satisfaction that Mr He experienced in grappling with the English language and moulding it tell his own story - the experience of the revolutionary in the Chinese countryside. His marvellous style is unique. And his humour and lack of bitterness shine through the story.

Eloquently written autobiography during a henious time .

The most remarkable thing that struck me about this book was the forever positive outlook Mr. He continued to have through his many trials of being and intellectual during the Cultural Rev. And an English speaking one at that. He was ill suited to the farm life he was banished to endure but his peasant wife (arranged marriage) stood by him while his true love was lost through circumstances beyond anyones control. It a story of survival that anyman could be faced with and one wonders how we would have fared. Mr. He and I have been friends and correspondents for over l0 yrs. and I have been to his home in Dali and Kunming. He is ever the positive, smiling gentleman that comes across through his pages and a credit to cross cultural friendships. A must read!
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