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Journey across the Four Seas
A Chinese Woman’s Search for Home

 

Author: Veronica Li
ISBN-13: 9781931907439
ISBN-10: 1931907439
Order No. 1047
6 x 9, Paperback
xx, 298 pages, November 2006
Biography/Social Studies
List price: $14.95
20% off: $11.96

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BOOK DESCRIPTION

 

This is a true and touching story of one Chinese woman’s search for home. It is also an inspiring book about human yearning for a better life. To escape poverty, Flora Li fought her way through the education system and became one of the few women to get into the prestigious Hong Kong University. When the Japanese invaded, she fled to unoccupied China, where she met her future husband, the son of China’s finance minister (later deputy prime minister).

She thought she had found the ideal husband, but soon discovered that he suffered from emotional disorders caused by family conflicts and the wars he had grown up in. Whenever he had a breakdown, Flora would move the family to another city, from Shanghai to Nanking to Hong Kong to Bangkok to Taipei and finally across the four seas to the U.S. Throughout her migrations, Flora kept her sight on one goal—providing her children with the best possible education.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author of a thriller, Nightfall in Mogadishu, Veronica Li grew up mostly in Hong Kong and moved to the U.S. with her parents at fifteen. She has a B.A. in English from University of California, Berkeley and a master’s in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University. Li was a journalist for seven years, working for the Asian Wall Street Journal and other news organizations. She later joined the World Bank, for which she traveled extensively and got her inspiration for her novel and other writings. See photos of Veronica Li and her mother in book events.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Author’s Note and Acknowledgements
Prologue

1. Eating Bitter Squash
2. Dreaming in the Red Chamber
3. Shooting an Arrow at the Sun
4. Burning in the Theater
5. Making a Bad Peace
6. Going Home
7. Still Searching for Home
8. Living in a Prison
9. Laying Foundation for the Future
10. Journeying across the Four Seas
Epilogue

Glossary of Chinese Names and Places

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BOOK REVIEW

For readers not familiar with China, Journey across the Four Seas: A Chinese Woman’s Search for Home captures the Chinese family, its values and traditions, its comforts and constraints, and the characteristic patience and perseverance of the Chinese women. To all readers, it is a very lively story of a remarkable woman who accepted circumstances she could not change, who never complained about the cards life had dealt with her, but was ready to make courageous choices when the opportunities arose.
—Kathy Ogawa, Washington Journal of Modern China (a publication of the U.S.-China Policy Foundation), Winter 2008-2009. vol. 9, no.1. 

I love this book. It is the true story of one unusual woman who faces all of life’s adversities and overcomes them through sheer determination, grit and a bit of luck. While it is the story of one woman, it is also a story that millions of people will identify with. It has the makings of a bestseller.”
—Frank Ching, senior columnist, The South China Morning Post

“Lovingly interpreted by a devoted daughter, Flora Li’s story is a unique piece of oral history, a family saga of fluctuating fortunes told against the backdrop of British-held Hong Kong and wartime China. It also takes us to Bangkok and Taipei, destinations of recent Chinese diasporas. Fast-paced and absorbing, Flora’s journey through turbulent times is at one level an intensely personal tale of loss, disappointment, and a fraught marriage that ends with a new beginning in 1960s California. At another, her story mirrors the experience of an entire generation of migrating Chinese like Flora—resourceful, resilient, and engaged in a determined ‘search for home,’ a sure place where the family might survive and thrive.”
—Paula Harrell, Visiting Professor, University of Maryland; author of Sowing the Seeds of Change: Chinese Students, Japanese Teachers, 1895-1905

“A gutsy Chinese woman remembers with unsparing wit and candor growing up poor in British-ruled Hong Kong, surviving the perils and privations of Japanese-occupied China and the joys and pains of raising a family with a Kuomintang official’s privileged son she married. This is history as biography that can bring nostalgia attacks to old Asia hands. It’s also an odyssey through life in the Chinese diaspora peopled with funny and outrageous real-life personalities Amy Tan couldn’t have imagined.”
—Eduardo Lachica, independent analyst of Southeast Asian security and military affairs; former reporter of The Wall Street Journal and Washington bureau chief of The Asian Wall Street Journal

“This book is an amazing read. When I finished it, I felt as if I understood Hong Kong, China, the heroine Flora, and myself better. It’s the Asian Grapes of Wrath.”
—Adair Lara, award-winning columnist, The San Francisco Chronicle; author of five books including Hold Me Close, Let Me Go, and Hanging Out the Wash

“Aside from being well done and written this book should also be very helpful in dispelling notions that some Americans might have about the role of women in China and Hong Kong in the early and mid-twentieth century. This is an incredible story about a remarkable Chinese woman; once started it is virtually impossible to put down for long. To me the principal message was the importance of initiative and hard work regardless of the adversity. Networking was important (extensive Swatow relations, Hong Kong University alumni, connection with the Nationalist Finance Minister, and so on) but only up to a point. Then initiative and hard work were required to carry her through.”
—Morris Morkre, Economist, the Federal Trade Commission; former Senior Lecturer in Economics, Hong Kong University

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