Accomplice to Memory

Product ID : 18961771

Galleon Product ID 18961771
Manufacturer Kaya Press
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About Accomplice To Memory

Product Description In Accomplice to Memory, Q.M. Zhang pieces together the mystery of her father's exodus from China to the US during the two decades of civil and world war leading up to the 1949 revolution. But after a lifetime of her father's secrets and lies, Zhang's efforts to untangle the truth are thwarted by the distance between generations and her father's growing dementia. One day, late in his life, Zhang's father tells her a story she never heard before, and suddenly, all of his previous stories begin to unravel. Before she can get clarity on the new information, her father is hospitalized. Armed with history books and timelines, Zhang sits at her father's bedside recording accounts of love, espionage and betrayal, attempting to parse out the truth. Part memoir, novel and historical documentary, this hybrid text explores the silences and subterfuge of an immigrant parent, and the struggles of the second generation to understand the first. Review Accomplice to Memory is a radical investigation into the nature of truth and memory that's equal parts biography and memoir, narrative and graphic art.  Zhang's father grew up in China in the decades leading up to the 1949 revolution and immigrated to the United States shortly afterwards. Zhang finally decides to tell his story after a health crisis that leaves him with declining mental facilities. When his lifetime of silence breaks down, it's in scant, often contradictory stories. Although his narrative overlaps major historical events, he always places himself just outside the known. All too soon, the deceptively simple task of narrative becomes the greatest challenge of all.  Zhang's voice is authorial, not authoritative. She often doubles down on her suspicions and doubts, presenting collective historical record, particularly images, as personal family history and then mythologizing that history. Zhang abandons the singular narrative in favor of a troubled, unstable construction that exists between image and text, father and daughter, memory and history, reader and writer, in a stance that claims the collective experience as her own. Zhang offers endless prompts on which to hang the narrative of her father's life, and as the line between truth and fiction is steadily and deliberately blurred, it becomes clear that all memory is narrative, a construct that's replayed again and again until it gains saliency and longevity in the mind. - Foreword Reviews There are two main purposes to the book. One is to serve as a memoir of a man who escaped from China to America in 1950 to establish a life in Meiguo, the "Beautiful Land." That memoir is full of nuance about China in the 1940s, and provides interesting insights into what it takes for a Chinese man to prosper in America. The second purpose is to delve into the process of uncovering the truth and to show how events, actions, beliefs and shame interact to build up stories that make such discovery difficult. And, just as the narrative threads intertwine, so do these two purposes. This narrative evolution is the most significant contribution of this book. If you were to randomly pick two italicized passages from different parts of the book, each would seem as believable as the other. Yet when viewed sequentially, we see how the later fictionalizations contain more and more of what is revealed by the statements and silences of the father. There is a good process of discovery - as well as invention - going on that makes sense of each successive narrative. It may be that this is a book worth reading twice, once for the story, and once to understand how we construct stories about what really happened, and what that tells us about ourselves. -Xujun Eberlein, LA Review of Books In this darkly enchanting book, Zhang interrogates and recreates the turbulent life of her father, a Chinese émigré, and the last half century of Chinese history...  A warm, intellectually rich journey through several nations and identi