In terms of the story and the background, this book is not much different from “the literature of the wounded”. However, this book doesn’t belong to the “wounded” genre. Besides expressing sadness and sympathy to the countless individual tragedies that happened during the chaotic years, the author seriously questioned the cause of the tragedies, and drew her own conclusion: it’s the “great red sun” who should take the ultimate responsibility for the national disasters. The trajectory of her thoughts leading to this conclusion is self-proved, and much more convincing than the explanation given by the official propaganda. Instead of “Gang of Four”, it might be the “Gang of Five”. This could be the main reason why this book got banned in the mainland China, while “the literature of the wounded” are fairly popular.
Though many reviews of this book say it’s about three women’s story (the author, her mother, and her grandmother), the pages about the author’s father are the most interesting to me. The author’s father is a man with principles. He wouldn’t bend himself even facing evil power that could destroy him like crashing an ant. His bravery to challenge Mao during the culture revolution is so impressive. And his transition from a loyal follower of the party, to a questioner, to a “resigner” may reflect the mental changes of many party elites during those years. I admire his character, and feel deeply sorry for his awakening from the beautiful dream.