Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Book Review | Colours Of The Mountain by Da Chen & My Holiday Reading List


This month's book club book was a little different than what we have read previously. Colours Of The Mountain was written about Da Chen by Da Chen himself. It is based around his childhood and the trials and tribulations he faced in terms of his upbringing, his friendship groups and education due to the Chinese government at the time.

The Blurb

"A unique modern memoir of growing up in rural China, Colours of the Mountain is a powerful and moving story of supreme determination and extraordinary faith against the most impossible odds. Da Chen was born in 1962 in a town over 50 hours' train journey from Beijing. Persecuted because of his family's landlord status, Da was an easy target for the farmer-teachers and bullying peasant boys. Whilst his older brother and sisters were forced to work in the fields, Da tired of the chaotic schooling of the Cultural Revolution and found solace with a band of good-time thugs. 

Following the death of Mao, an academic meritocracy was reintroduced. Da determined to escape Ch'ing Mountain, where he ran around barefoot and there was no electricity and no future. Together with his brother Jin, who had been working the land since boyhood, he began to study day and night. His determination is staggering and inspiring. In 1978, at the age of sixteen, Da Chen took a bus and a train for the first time in his life and travelled to Beijing, to the best English language institute in China. A book about friendships, prejudice, familial love and academic striving, and of one man's escape from hunger, poverty and ignorance, Colours of the Mountain is an inspiring and eloquently recounted memoir."



My Thoughts

This book took a little while for me to get my head around. As it was a memoir there wasn't a particular plot or storyline to follow as it was a series of memories pieced together. It was most definitely an interesting read as I feel as though I have learnt a lot about the Chinese government during the time of Mao and the aftermath after his death. I enjoyed reading about China in the 1970s from what food they ate, how they lived, expectations of family members and the bonds that were made in childhood friendships. Once I got my head around the premise of the book I ended up really enjoying it and would recommend it to anyone wanting some sort of insight into the Chinese culture of the 70s. 




My Holiday Reading List

The Widow by Fiona Barton

I love a good crime novel and so when I saw this book on offer at Waterstones I thought that I would pick it up to take away with me. It has had amazing reviews from the likes of Steven King and Lisa gardner. I think that it will be a really good read as it is unlike the standard thriller in that the crimes that happen are told from the point of view of the murderer's unsuspecting wife. 

The Marrying Of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris

I have been recommended this book by a lady that goes to my book club as well as my mum. It is supposed to be extremely insightful to the Jewish religion, in particular, their views and rituals to do with marriage. I love reading about different cultures and ways of thinking, which is why I found Colours Of The Mountain so interesting, so I have high hope for this read. 

The BFG by Roald Dahl 

I bought a huge Roald Dahl book set a while ago and in light of the new BFG film that has come out, I thought that I would re-read one of my childhood favourites whilst I'm away on holiday. 



Have your read anything by Da Chen?
What's on your holiday reading list?

Madolyn
xxx

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