As  much as I do enjoy my girly fiction books. I have been on a kick lately of enjoying both historical fiction and non fiction history books.  What can I say, I am a history geek.  Although my main love is United States history I find other cultures exceptionally fascinating.  When I was offered the chance to review From the Dragon's Mouth I was intrigued about a book that would offer an insider look into life in a communist nation.  Ever since reading an amazing book in college on life for women in the USSR, I have been drawn to reading about life in communist nations.  I think this interest comes from the fact that published work in which people are able to speak freely in a communist nation are few and far between.

From the Dragon's Mouth is a completion of several stories that Ms. Fuentes had put together as her years as a journalist.  There were several people that she interviewed whose stories did not make the cut for the news that she was reporting but yet she was drawn to their stories.  Each of the stories gives a separate peak into a life that is ultimately high regulated by other cultural expectations as well as a well run and heavy handed communist government.  Some of the stories that I was most drawn to were the story of a mom who secretly works as a prostitute to give her son the best life possible-yet, he does not appreciate all that he has or has any idea what his mother does to support him.  Another story that pulled at my heart strings was the story of a young woman who married a gay man because of the large cultural importance placed on marriage in Chinese society.  A final story that really stuck with me was the story of a man who left his village to work in the city and actually lives in a shared space in an underground apartment (think living in a NYC subway that has been closed and made into rooms that are shared apartments).  This man left behind his family, only seeing them once a year, and working for the reason of providing his children with a better life.  What was crazy in the book revealed that there are hundreds of thousands of people who leave their children behind to be raised by relatives.  This is crazy to think about-100,000 of children who only see their parents once a year.   The other fascinating fact that I found in this book was the most if not all of the people who were interviewed (regardless of their status in life) talked about love of their country.  We in America often associate communism with evil or horrendous atrocities and it unimaginable that people would like or be proud of their country.  In the book it was clear that regardless of what their life or status in society is like almost all those interviewed had a deep love for their country.  

With the variety of stories offered in this book I think that anyone reading will form a connection or life at least one or two of these stories.  I would highly recommend it for the fact that it gives an almost unprecedented look at the average Chinese citizen and their life under Communism.  This is a must read for anyone who is interested in history or culture in general.  
Labels: | edit post
0 Responses

Post a Comment