“A Chinese Life” is ostensibly an autobiography of a simple, everyday person who happened to grow up in the most tumultuous era in modern Chinese history. This story, however, is so much more. It not only depicts the ups and downs of this individual’s life, but also reflects the flow and sentiments shared by millions throughout the period of the People’s Republic of China and all in graphic novel format. That is a sizable accomplishment considering the story spans over seven decades and indeed, the book clocks in at 700 pages.
What struck me most about the work, other than the stylistic way it was penned, was the viewpoint of the central storyteller. Very often works about the Communist Party of China and the Mao era in particular are critical of the policies and the government. Instead, this work helps the reader understand how someone could and would support the Party even to this day. That almost sounds dry and political, but it doesn’t read that way. The artist’s life is full of personal passions, friends and stories: some touching, some saddening and some hilarious.
Anyone interested in foreign cultures and China in particular, should take a peek at this slice of autobiographical life: it’s substantial enough to give you moments of contemplation, but light enough to ensure you don’t want to put it down.
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