Dragonfly Eyes (Hardcover)
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From acclaimed Chinese author Cao Wenxuan, recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, comes a compelling family saga spanning fifty years and three generations.
Ah-Mei and her French grandmother, Nainai, share a rare bond. Maybe it’s because Ah-Mei is the only girl grandchild. Or maybe it’s because the pair look so much alike and neither resembles the rest of their Chinese family. Politics and war make 1960s Shanghai a hard place to grow up, especially when racism and bigotry are rife, and everyone seems suspicious of Nainai’s European heritage and interracial marriage. In this time of political upheaval, Ah-Mei and her family suffer much—and when the family silk business falters, they are left with almost nothing. Ah-Mei and her grandmother are resourceful, but will the tender connection they share bring them enough strength to carry through? This multigenerational saga by one of China’s most esteemed children’s authors takes the reader from 1920s France to a ravaged postwar Shanghai and through the convulsions of the Cultural Revolution.
About the Author
Cao Wenxuan, author of the acclaimed Bronze and Sunflower, is the recipient of the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award. He has also won several of China’s important awards for children’s literature. A professor of Chinese literature at Peking University, Cao Wenxuan has seen many of his books become bestsellers in China, and his work has been translated into French, Russian, German, Japanese, and Korean.
Profound. . . Told via an omniscient third-person perspective that alternates between Nainai’s past and Ah Mei’s present day, Cao delicately portrays atrocities alongside peaceful, idyllic life with aesthetic prose and nostalgic imagery, providing a tender look into one transnational family’s ancestry.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
This atmospheric work translated from the Chinese renders the trials and tribulations befalling the family of Du Meixi. . . By turns sentimental and tragic, the plot juxtaposes quotidian details against factual historical background, including Japan’s 1937 invasion of China, in illustrating the family’s plight.
A worthwhile addition to historical fiction shelves.
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
A novel that brims with tenderness. . . readers get a sense of history without a history lesson—the greater lesson being, perhaps, the vulnerability of individuals in a system that grants them neither dignity nor value.
—The Wall Street Journal