I've been reading Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China since Monday. It's a huge 500+ page book and I'm about ¾ of the way through. It's an intense book. It's a comparison of the social environments and the changes China has undergone from the Qing ("ching") Dynasty through to today, as it applies to the women in Chang's family. She's brutally factual in some places, but not overly graphic. I hate sugar-coating, dumbing down, couching expressions, so this was very much appreciated.
It's a slow read for me, in some areas, because... well, I'm a slow reader to begin with. But Chang also explains the relevant military and political history and climate of the time. I'm kinda dense in military and politics, so sometimes I have to read things over two or three times to follow who's who and what's going on. It got so bad in one passage that I actually started taking notes to understand.
The things she says are about the same stories from my family but from a different angle. Chang is a Gao-gan Zi-di (her romanization; meaning "children of high Communist Party officials"). The points of view are invariably different, but the gist of what happened is the same. She was much closer to the turmoil because her parents were Party Officials and constantly in the middle of all the bullshit. My family was not.
My family would talk about the same things that happened in Wild Swans, but not in such an explanatory way. They'd carry on with their own adult conversations, leaving me to pick up odds and ends, but never really talking to me about it. This book has really filled in gaps from the bits and pieces that I know. She explains a lot and opens up more questions, which is a good thing.
Getting kicked off soon... continued later.