Red Azalea: Book summary and reviews of Red Azalea by Anchee Min

Red Azalea

by Anchee Min

Red Azalea
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2006
    320 pages
    Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

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Book Summary

Red Azalea is Anchee Min's celebrated memoir of growing up in the last years of Mao's China. As a child, she was asked to publicly humiliate a teacher; at seventeen, she was sent to work at a labor collective. Forbidden to speak, dress, read, write, or love as she pleased, she found a lifeline in a secret love affair with another woman. Miraculously selected for the film version of one of Madame Mao's political operas, Min's life changed overnight. Then Chairman Mao suddenly died, taking with him an entire world. A revelatory and disturbing portrait of China, Anchee Min's memoir is exceptional for its candor, its poignancy, its courage, and for its prose which Newsweek calls "as delicate and evocative as a traditional Chinese brush painting."

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A straightforward biography would have served better than this flat, hagiographic narrative." - Kirkus Reviews

"Though the setting and revolutionary backdrop are inherently dramatic, Min's account of an epic friendship is curiously low-key, with some sections reading more like a treatment than a narrative." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Min's fresh and penetrating interpretation of Pearl S. Buck's extraordinary life delivers profound psychological, spiritual, and historical insights within an unforgettable cross-cultural story of a quest for veracity, compassion, and justice." - Booklist

"Min skillfully blends real historical figures... with fictional characters to authenticate the story's social and political context... [Pearl of China] pays worthy homage to Pearl Buck's legacy." - San Francisco Chronicle

"[T]old with a haunting quality only Anchee Min can deliver... this rewarding read passes far too quickly." - Bookreporter.com

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Author Information

Anchee Min Author Biography

Photo: Naishi Min

Anchee Min was born in Shanghai in 1957 during the rule of communist leader Mao Zedong. She was chosen to become a leader of the Little Red Guards, a group of elementary school children who supported and believed in Mao's ideas. Like every child of her generation, Min was taught to write "Long Live Chairman Mao!" before she was taught to write her own name. She believed in Mao and Communism. At the age of 17, she was sent to a labor camp near East China Sea, where she discovered the truth of Mao's calling. She endured mental and physical hardships, which included a severe spinal cord injury.

She worked for three years before talent scouts spotted her toiling in a cotton field. Madame Mao, preparing to take over China, was looking for a leading actress for a ...

... Full Biography
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Link to Anchee Min's Website

Name Pronunciation
Anchee Min: an-key min

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