Dublin Reads is culminating tonight with a visit from our author, Anchee Min.  She will appear tonight in the Community Room at 7:00 p.m.  The Friends of the Library are sponsoring her visit and will provide cake and punch; Towne Center Books will be here selling Min’s books.

 This month we have been reading her latest book Pearl of China.  But Min is an accomplished author with books that include her well received memoir Red Azalea, which was a New York Times Notable Book in 1994, and five novels.  Pearl of China explores the life of Pearl Buck, juxtaposing the experience of this transplanted westerner embracing all things Chinese, against the fictional character of Willow, Pearl’s Chinese friend who becomes more westernized as the book progresses. Their friendship is tested by personal hardship and rivalries as well as the impact of  the social and political backdrop in China, from the Boxer Rebellion, invasion by the Japanese and World War II, Civil War, and the cruel and repressive regime of Mao Tse Tung.

Min  grew up in China, coming to the United States when she was 27 years old to study in Chicago.  The soundtrack of her youth was the operas championed by Madame Mao — operas described in a New York Times Book Review feature on Anchee Min as “loud, long, and bombastic celebrations of China’s triumphant revolutionary proletariat, four hour extravaganzas…”[ NYTBook Review, June 18, 2000]

One of the threads of Min’s life is grappling with intellectual repression.  As a third grader she walked 4 miles and stood in line for 3 hours to wait for the doors of a new children’s library to open.  It became so crowded that children could only gain entrance if they successfullyanswered a question posed by the adults in charge.  Min did not answer correctly and was turned away. Min’s mother said “Mao’s books don’t count.  Dictatiors keep us away from asking questions, getting information.”   Min herself has said “I want my reader to experience what its like not to have books, no library, but you have the willingness to struggle in the darkness and make it as far as you can.”

Min’s journey has been from being what she calls “a bolt in the communist machine” to becoming herself, becoming an American and through this experience finding her true self as  Chinese.  Her story is riveting and we hope you will join us tonight for what promises to be a very special evening.

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