The Year of Finding Memory

The Year of Finding Memory

A Memoir

eBook - 2010
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In the tradition of The Concubine's Children and Paper Shadows , a probing memoir from the author of the acclaimed novel Midnight at the Dragon Cafe .

An elegant and surprising book about a Chinese family's difficult arrival in Canada, and a daughter's search to understand remarkable and terrible truths about her parents' past lives.

Growing up in her father's hand laundry in small town Ontario, Judy Fong Bates listened to stories of her parents' past lives in China, a place far removed from their every-day life of poverty and misery. But in spite of the allure of these stories, Fong Bates longed to be a Canadian girl. Fifty years later she finally followed her curiosity back to her ancestral home in China for a reunion that spiralled into a series of unanticipated discoveries. Opening with a shock as moving as the one that powers The Glass Castle , The Year of Finding Memory explores a particular, yet universal, world of family secrets, love, loss, courage and shame. This is a memoir of a daughter's emotional journey, and her painful acceptance of conflicting truths. In telling the story of her parents, Fong Bates is telling the story of how she came to know them, of finding memory.


From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Toronto :, Random House Canada,, [2010]
Copyright Date: ♭2010
ISBN: 9780307374288
0307374289
Characteristics: 1 online resource (296 pages) :,illustrations, map, portraits

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u
uncommonreader
Aug 01, 2012

A girl raised in a laundry in small town Canada returns to China to reconnect. Very disappointing and pedestrian.

s
silverlady
Oct 06, 2010

Judy Fong Bates writes a very moving account of her quest to learn more about her family and their roots in China. She lived as a small child with her mother and half-sister in Hong Kong before moving to Ontario to join her father, who owned a small Chinese hand laundry, a job of unceasing labour. Her depictions of her experiences visiting mainland China to be reunited with her older half-sister and niece and other relatives, are interesting as we hear the voices from her youth compared with the present-day realities. These Chinese relatives have almost universally suffered under Communism and the Cultural Revolution, working in the fields, deprived of education. Judy feels some guilt at her remembrances of her youth, which although not totally care-free, has involved, comforts, friends and education. She discovers that her mother sent money regularly from Canada (Gold Mountain) to support many of her family members in China and realizes what a difference even small amounts made in their lives. One of her mother's cousins tells her that it saved them from starvation! It is a story which was probably repeated many times as China went through hard times during and after the war. Yet Judy realizes that the high esteem which people like her parents were held in by their mainland Chinese relatives, didn't totally reflect the realities with which the resident Canadian Chinese dealt with -- isolation from their culture, friends and family, a harsh, inhospitable climate where they couldn't easily grow their traditional vegetables and rejection from others in their locales. A very thoughtful read.

v
vitareader
Sep 28, 2010

Liked the descrption of Judy's travelling back to China to find her roots and the history of her parents. So interesting to learn the way others live and what they are willing to sacrifice for their children. It did drag in places but over all was a good read.
Having read Judy's book Midnight at the Dragon Cafe I now know who she based the young girl's parents on.

p
peregrin
Jul 13, 2010

Wonderfully written biography detailing the author's life and her parent's lives in China and Canada. Very interesting descriptions of what life is/was like in a rural Chinese village.

It's very sad how early Chinese immigrants to Canada were treated. The book gives a good perspective of what it must be like to live in a country where you don't understand the language or fit in with the culture.

My only complaint is that it was a bit repetitive in parts.

I also highly recommend "Midnight at the Dragon Cafe" by the same author.

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