Published: 28/01/2017
ISBN: 9781785898655
Format: Paperback

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Nima Lee was born in China and lived there for thirty years before moving to the UK. As one of the first contingent of postgraduate students to go to university when they re-opened at the end of the C... read more

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The Colour of Red
Tales from the Cultural Revolution
by Nima Lee

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. This extraordinary, yet relatively unknown period, is vibrantly captured in a sequence of short stories, full of tragedy, humour and satire in beautifully crafted vignettes of life at the time, both ordinary and otherwise.

The Colour of Red is a gripping debut collection of short stories, set in China, and is based on true events that took place between 1966 and 1976. Nima Lee paints the moving human dramas behind this turbulent period in a powerful amalgam of betrayal, love, hate, ridicule and brutality. With the revival of an autocratic personality cult in China today, it is a stark reminder of potential catastrophic consequences. Stories include The Helmsman, which is a unique portrayal of Mao as an ordinary man in an ordinary day, elevated to an extraordinary position. In contrast to many books, Lee encourages the reader to form their own views and judgements on this prominent historic figure who dominated Chinese politics for a century. In stark contrast, The Autumns Tale will touch your heart at the fate of two young lovers, while Mango recounts perhaps one of the most bizarre episodes in recent history.

In this remarkable collection Nima Lee reveals both the tribulations inflicted upon and the resilience of ordinary Chinese people through her variety of characters including a ten-year-old girl, a journalist, red guards, university students and soldiers. Written in chronological order, The Colour of Red is a highly informative and thoroughly entertaining collection that uses historical facts to bring fictional characters to life. In every sense, Lee has made the Cultural Revolution unforgettable, skilfully navigating the subject and exploring the politics of the time without being judgemental, maintaining a high level of writing that moves one to tears.

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