Finding Iris Chang: Book summary and reviews of Finding Iris Chang by Paula Kamen

Finding Iris Chang

Friendship, Ambition, and the Loss of an Extraordinary Mind

By Paula Kamen

Finding Iris Chang
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2007,
    304 pages.

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Book Summary

Iris Chang's mysterious suicide in 2004, at age thirty-six, didn't seem to make any sense. She had more to live for than anyone, including fame, fortune, beauty, a husband, and child. Some even wondered if the controversial author of the Rape of Nanking had been murdered.

Long-time friend Paula Kamen was among those left wondering what had gone so wrong. Seeking to reconcile the suicide with the image of Chang's "perfect" life, Kamen searched her own memory and scoured Chang's letters, diaries, and archival material to fill in the gaps of Chang's personal transformation--from awkward teen to homecoming princess in college, from "ex-shy person" to world-class speaker and international human rights pioneer--and later decline into mental illness and paranoia. A literary investigation of an important writer's journey, Finding Iris is a tribute to a lost heroine, a portrait of the real and vulnerable woman who inspired so many around the world.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Despite its flaws, this could find a sizable audience among those Chinese-Americans who lionized Chang." - Publishers Weekly.

"A rewardingly complex portrait of a driven and troubled woman." - Kirkus Reviews.

"It put me in mind of Ann Patchett's Truth & Beauty, her memoir about her friendship with...writer Lucy Grealy." - Library Journal.

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Author Information

Paula Kamen Author Biography

Paula Kamen is the author of Her Way: Young Women Remake the Sexual Revolution and Feminist Fatale. Her commentaries and satires have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Salon, Ms., and the Chicago Tribune, as well as in many anthologies, including Appeal to Reason: The Best 25 Years of In These Times and Shiny Adidas Tracksuits and the Death of Camp: The Best of Might Magazine. She lives in Evanston, IL.

Author Interview
Link to Paula Kamen's Website

Name Pronunciation
Paula Kamen: kay-min

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