Advanced Review – Uncorrected Proof
Issue: May 15, 2010
Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale.
Yang, Belle (Author)
May 2010. 256 p. Norton, hardcover, $23.95. (9780393068344). 813.
Children’s [and adult] book illustrator-author Yang neatly layers family history across several generations in this graphic memoir. Returning to her parents in China in the wake of a stalking ex-boyfriend’s threats, she attends to teasing out the details of family stories she has often heard but never deeply asked about. She wants to know how her grandfather’s family dynamics during his youth echoed down the generations, the effects of Mao on the family’s social as well as economic fortunes, the roles women have played and been denied traditionally, and her own father’s progressive and loving attitudes. Rather than approaching this in a linear manner, Yang spins out the story in concentric eddies and whorls, an excellent reverberation of her black-ink style, with its repetitious patterns and unusual angles of vision. This is an excellent book for those intrigued by family stories or by the history of twentieth-century China as well as anyone who likes memoirs made more dynamic by incorporating more than just the writer’s perspective on events.
— Francisca Goldsmith
Causes Belle Yang Supports
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