The Water Lily Pond
265 pages

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265 pages
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This evocative narrative draws us into the inner life of a young Chinese peasant girl, May-ping, and her first glimmerings of youthful love and idealism under the Maoist regime in China. As she grows into a mature woman, she becomes increasingly aware of the strife around her.

An intelligent girl born into a Poor-Class family in a small village in rural China, she is, because of the Maoist policy towards such families, able to pursue her dream of going to university. To her surprise, urban snobbery and “student thought-spying” at university make it essential for her to hide her real thoughts. Such self-protection becomes especially necessary once her idealistic boyfriend Dan — a secret boyfriend because young people were forbidden to be romantically involved — is sent to a labour camp for his outspoken ways.

In her village, she learns that everything has value except the lives of girls and women. One of her childhood friends, a landowner’s daughter who because of her family’s Landlord Class, is not allowed to go to university drowns herself when forced to face an arranged marriage. Hua-Hua, a shy and gentle neighbour, hangs herself after her husband beats her brutally for not bearing him a son.

May-ping manages to survive the Cultural Revolution as a member of the Communist party who feels outside the system and keeps her inner self intact. Her story reveals how political change during the Maoist regime left its mark on ordinary people.

Employing stories within stories, the narrator carries the reader to a mythological realm to images of the resilient water lilies and the nurturing lily pond.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 janvier 2006
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781554581047
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0030€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program for our publishing activities. We acknowledge the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Media Development Corporation’s Ontario Book Initiative. We acknowledge a publication grant from the University of Northern British Columbia.
National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Li, Han Z. (Han Zao), 1956-
The water lily pond : a village girl’s journey in Maoist China/Han Z. Li.
(Life writing series) ISBN 0-88920-431-4
1. China—History—1949-1986—Fiction. PS8573.I15W38 2004 C813’.6
© 2004 Wilfrid Laurier University Press Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5
I.Title. II. Series C2003-907133-2
Cover design by Leslie Macredie using a photograph by Fang Nai-ping. Text design by P.J. Woodland. Chinese calligraphy by Liu Guan-you.
Printed in Canada
This is a work of metafiction. The events are based on facts but the characters and institutions are fictitious with the exception of known historical figures whose actual names are herein used. Therefore, any resemblance of characters and institutions to real-life counterparts is coincidental.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the publisher or a licence from The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright). For an Access Copyright licence, visit < www. accesscopy > or call toll free to 1-800-893-5777.
This book is dedicated to the memory of my paternal grandmother, Wei Ju-xiang (chrysanthemum), whose teachings have shaped who I am today.
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The spirit of water lily
by Zhou Dunyi, a Song Dynasty poet and mandarin
Peony is dazzling with large globular red flower. Chrysanthemum is charming with alluring blossom. I love water lily more. It stands above the water though in touch with it. It is pure and clean though it grows out of mud. Its petals are pinkish white, soft, yet durable. Thunderstorms cannot destroy it. Raindrops only make it fresher and more adorable.
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Once upon a time, there was a land called Red China. Everything in it must be Red, from people’s thought to deed. Anything less Red is reformed; anything White or Black is denounced until red blood trickles out. This is a tale of an observant village girl, growing up by a water lily pond, interpreting and coping with this tremendous Red world.
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