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Wilde zwanen drie dochters van China by Jung…
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Wilde zwanen drie dochters van China (original 1991; edition 1992)

by Jung Chang

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,133124668 (4.13)1 / 342
Member:joucy
Title:Wilde zwanen drie dochters van China
Authors:Jung Chang
Info:Amsterdam Amber 1992
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:China, geschiedenis, familieroman

Work details

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang (1991)

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English (99)  Dutch (9)  German (4)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  French (1)  Japanese (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (123)
Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
This is a fascinating history of 20th century China through the lives of three women, Jung Chang, her mother, and her grandmother. Of course it only tells their perspectives, but all are glimpses of China I have never seen so clearly. If I had picked up a history book of this era, I would have probably put it down, too frustrated by the Communist regime to continue. Through this narration, I cared about what happened to Jung Chang's family and the country and couldn't put it down (I listened to the audible version and read when sitting down.).

Briefly, Chang's grandmother, sold as a concubine, lives through the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, the Kuomintang, Mao's takeover of Manchuria, and follows the lives of her daughter and grandchildren. Her mother is raised on Mao's schools and propaganda and rises through the ranks of the Communist system with her husband, later to be renounced in the Cultural Revolution. Chang and her siblings struggle to learn and thrive during the Cultural Revolution, always challenging.

Jung Chang's writing is very straightforward (as is the narration), which is absolutely appropriate for this epic story already so full of extreme events and emotions. Lyricism is not needed and extra description would have made this book too long. Despite the length of this book (562 pages), there was never a sense of it being slow or too long. The narration by Joy Osmanski also generally moved swiftly and clearly (at 1.25 speed). ( )
  Connie-D | Aug 23, 2016 |
Some parts were great. Some not so great. It had it's 5 moments and it's 2 moments. Overall i am glad to have read it but i wish it was shorter.
  newnoz | Aug 6, 2016 |
Many parts i adored but some passages dragged on an other times the list of miseries where just too much. I suspect that the reader did not exactly catch the tone sometimes which would be hard to do for the reader was English and the writer Chinese. I think i would have preferred an abridged version.

I appreciated this story as the Chinese revolution is a fascinating subject of human aspiration and human fallibility. She captured that very, very well.
  newnoz | Aug 6, 2016 |
I didn't particularly enjoy this book. I know that I'm in a minority in that opinion though. It's not an easy book to read. It plods along, but is fascinating and unsettling. It was interesting to me to see the changes that occurred in China in just a few short generations.

Historically it's fascinating and follows the lives of a woman and her mother and grandmother through the reign and fall of warlords, the Japanese occupation, and the rise of Communism and Chairman Mao.

But, more than anything, it's heartbreakingly sad. It's a well-written, interesting book. I just didn't like it. ( )
  2kidsandtired | Aug 2, 2016 |
I didn't particularly enjoy this book. I know that I'm in a minority in that opinion though. It's not an easy book to read. It plods along, but is fascinating and unsettling. It was interesting to me to see the changes that occurred in China in just a few short generations.

Historically it's fascinating and follows the lives of a woman and her mother and grandmother through the reign and fall of warlords, the Japanese occupation, and the rise of Communism and Chairman Mao.

But, more than anything, it's heartbreakingly sad. It's a well-written, interesting book. I just didn't like it. ( )
  2kidsandtired | Aug 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jung Changprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Castelli Gair, GianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castelli-Gair Hombría, GianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chu-tanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hout, Bert Willem van derCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Syrier, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
To my grandmother and my father who did not live to see this book
First words
At the age of fifteen my grandmother became the concubine of a warlord general, the police chief of a tenuous national government of China.
Quotations
With luck, one could fall in love after getting married
They had been brought up in the fanatical personality cult of Mao and the militant doctrine of "class struggle".  They were endowed with the qualities of youth - they were rebellious, fearless, eager to fight for a "just cause", thirsty for adventure and action.  They were also irresponsible, ignorant and easy to manipulate - and prone to violence.
When I came home that afternoon, I found my father in the kitchen. He had lit a fire in the big cement sink, and was hurling his books into the flames.
This was the first time in my life I had seen him weeping. It was agonized, broken, and wild, the weeping of a man who was not used to shedding tears. Every now and then, in fits of violent sobs, he stamped his feet on the floor and banged his head against the wall.
... My father had spent every spare penny on his books. They were his life. After the bonfire, I could tell that something had happened to his mind.
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Wikipedia in English (5)

Book description
Alleen schrijvers met een uitzonderlijk talent lukt het om grote historische gebeurtenissen zo te beschrijven dat de lezer diep geëmotioneerd raakt. Een schrijver moet ook over veel overtuigings- en verbeeldingskracht beschikken om de lezer deelgenoot te maken van de gevoelens die de personages beheersen. Over dat talent beschikt de Chinese schrijfster Jung Chang. In Wilde zwanen, drie dochters van China vertelt zij de buitengewone levensgeschiedenis van haar grootmoeder, concubine van een generaal in het feodale China; en ten slotte het indrukwekkende verhaal hoe zij zelf als jong meisje in China opgroeide. Wilde zwanen geeft een panoramische visie van drie vrouwen op een complexe samenleving in de vorm van intieme memoires, prachtige portretten en verteld als een meeslepende kroniek van het twintigste-eeuwse China. En ondanks de haast onvoorstelbare gruwelen die de familie van Jung Chang ten deel zijn gevallen en die door de auteur op bijna onderkoelde manier worden beschreven, is Wilde zwanen een indrukwekkende getuigenis van optimistisch geloof in een rechtvaardige samenleving met gelijke rechten en gelijke kansen voor ieder individu.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743246985, Paperback)

In Wild Swans Jung Chang recounts the evocative, unsettling, and insistently gripping story of how three generations of women in her family fared in the political maelstrom of China during the 20th century. Chang's grandmother was a warlord's concubine. Her gently raised mother struggled with hardships in the early days of Mao's revolution and rose, like her husband, to a prominent position in the Communist Party before being denounced during the Cultural Revolution. Chang herself marched, worked, and breathed for Mao until doubt crept in over the excesses of his policies and purges. Born just a few decades apart, their lives overlap with the end of the warlords' regime and overthrow of the Japanese occupation, violent struggles between the Kuomintang and the Communists to carve up China, and, most poignant for the author, the vicious cycle of purges orchestrated by Chairman Mao that discredited and crushed millions of people, including her parents.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:53 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A Chinese woman chronicles the struggle of her grandmother, her mother, and herself to survive in a China torn apart by wars, invasions, revolution, and continuing upheaval, from 1907 to the present.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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