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  • Hachette Australia

The Girl from Purple Mountain: Love, Honor, War, and One Family's Journey from China

May-Lee Chai, Winberg Chai

1 Reviews

Rated 0

Memoirs, Prose: non-fiction

'A beautiful piece of memory and history. THE GIRL FROM PURPLE MOUNTAIN presents the intimacies and secrets of the Chai family set against the broad canvas that is China in the twentieth century. This is an amazing story of survival and endurance, fierce love and bitter resentments, and the failures and triumphs of the human heart.' Lisa See, author of ON GOLD MOUNTAIN

A family memoir set against the shifting tides of twentieth-century China, THE GIRL FROM PURPLE MOUNTAIN begins with a mystery: the Chai family matriarch, Ruth Mei-en Tsao Chai, dies unexpectedly and her grieving husband discovers that she had secretly arranged to be buried alone rather than in the shared plots they had purchased together years ago. Faced with this inexplicable act, Chu Chai decides that if he cannot lie next to his bride in death, he will buy a plot on the outskirts of her mausoleum and act as her guardian for all eternity. Such is his great love for Ruth Mei-en Tsao.

Mei-en was born in China at the beginning of the 20th century during the reign of the last emperor. Educated by American missionaries, she was one of the first women admitted into a Chinese university in an era when most Chinese women were illiterate and had bound feet. Later she would defy tradition and refuse to marry the man her family had chosen for her, instead choosing his younger brother as her husband. During World War II, she served as Lady Mountbatten s interpreter in China. As the Japanese Army advanced across China, her foresight and quick thinking kept her family alive as she, her husband and three sons were forced to flee from city to city. After the war, the Chais immigrated to the United States to what, until her death, seemed a happier and more peaceful life.

In this riveting memoir, Mei-en s first born son and his daughter explore family history to reconstruct her life as they seek to understand her fateful decision.

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Praise for The Girl from Purple Mountain: Love, Honor, War, and One Family's Journey from China

  • A beautiful piece of memory and history. The Girl from Purple Mountain presents the intimacies and secrets of the Chai family set against the broad canvas that is China in the twentieth century. This is an amazing story of survival and endurance, fierce love and bitter resentments, and the failures and triumphs of the human heart. - Lisa See, author of ON GOLD MOUNTAIN

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