Huan Hsu The Porcelain Thief

ISBN 13: 9780007580927

The Porcelain Thief

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9780007580927: The Porcelain Thief

A journalist travels throughout mainland China and Taiwan in search of his family’s hidden treasure and comes to understand his ancestry as he never has before.
 
In 1938, when the Japanese arrived in Huan Hsu’s great-great-grandfather Liu’s Yangtze River hometown of Xingang, Liu was forced to bury his valuables, including a vast collection of prized antique porcelain, and undertake a decades-long trek that would splinter the family over thousands of miles. Many years and upheavals later, Hsu, raised in Salt Lake City and armed only with curiosity, moves to China to work in his uncle’s semiconductor chip business. Once there, a conversation with his grandmother, his last living link to dynastic China, ignites a desire to learn more about not only his lost ancestral heirlooms but also porcelain itself. Mastering the language enough to venture into the countryside, Hsu sets out to separate the layers of fact and fiction that have obscured both China and his heritage and finally complete his family’s long march back home.

Melding memoir, travelogue, and social and political history, The Porcelain Thief offers an intimate and unforgettable way to understand the complicated events that have defined China over the past two hundred years and provides a revealing, lively perspective on contemporary Chinese society from the point of view of a Chinese American coming to terms with his hyphenated identity.

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About the Author:

HUAN HSU, born in the Bay Area and raised in Salt Lake City, is a former staff writer for the Washington City Paper in Washington, DC, and the Seattle Weekly. He is the recipient of two Society of Professional Journalists awards and has received recognition from the Casey Foundation for Meritorious Journalism. His essays and fiction have also appeared in SlateThe Literary Review, and Center: A Journal of the Literary Arts. He currently lives in Amsterdam and teaches creative writing at Amsterdam University College.

Review:

“An ambitious family saga that marries the intimacy of memoir, the sweep of political history and the suspense of an adventure novel... [Hsu's] thoroughness leads to a rich, welcome discussion of porcelain, making the book a valuable introduction to this artistic tradition.”– Wall Street Journal

“[A] standout book.” – New York Times Book Review

Not only is The Porcelain Thief a tantalizing mystery — will he find the treasure, or will it be a wild goose chase? — but it is an unearthing of various kinds of booty for the reader: a riveting lesson in Chinese history; a fascinating story of porcelain and its prominent place in the development of China; a gastronomic tour; a vivid and complex portrait of contemporary Chinese culture and the texture of modern life in the world’s largest country; and a group portrait of an extended, sprawling, fascinatingly eccentric Chinese family. Moreover, the story is all told through the lens of an ABC, or an American Born Chinese. And not just any old ABC, but one with attitude.”
 – Washington Independent Book Review

“In addition to documentary and family history, Hsu explores China's social and political history, as well as his personal feelings about China, and the value of documenting and sharing Chinese family stories. Hsu's fluid writing helps to synthesize these threads into a coherent story well worth reading.” – Publishers Weekly

“[Hsu’s] persistence in the face of numerous obstacles is beyond admirable... He offers plenty of intriguing information about Chinese history and culture, from wild Shanghai traffic to family dynamics. Some first-rate detective work.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Huan Hsu takes us on an intriguing journey into his family's and China's tumultuous past.  The Porcelain Thief provides a great, intimate view into how modern China really works.” – Frank Langfitt, NPR Correspondent, Shanghai

“Huan Hsu's return to his ancestral Chinese village in search of buried treasure keeps readers turning the pages, eager to see what he finds. The dig turns up more than ancient family valuables, as Hsu meets distant relatives and learns of the turmoil that they endured and that he, as an American-born Chinese, avoided.  Part memoir, part journey, and part archaeological expedition, The Porcelain Thief is as suspenseful as any Indiana Jones adventure.” – Michael Meyer, author of The Last Days of Old Beijing and In Manchuria

“Huan Hsu blends a fascinating search for his own family’s roots with an illuminating portrait of modern China. The Porcelain Thief is a wonderful read.” —Rob Gifford, author of China Road

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1938, with the Japanese army approaching from Nanking, Huan Hsu s great-great grandfather, Liu, and his five granddaughters, were forced to flee their hometown on the banks of the Yangtze River. But before they left a hole was dug as deep as a man, and as wide as a bedroom, in which was stowed the family heirlooms.The longer I looked at that red chrysanthemum plate, the more I wanted to touch it, feel its weight, and run my fingers over its edge, which, like its country s - and my family s - history, was anything but smooth.1938. The Japanese army were fast approaching Xingang, the Yangtze River hometown of Huan Hsu s great-great-grandfather, Liu. Along with his five granddaughters, Liu prepares to flee. Before they leave, they dig a hole and fill it to the brim with family heirlooms. Amongst their antique furniture, jade and scrolls, was Liu s vast collection of prized antique porcelain.A decades-long flight across war-torn China splintered the family over thousands of miles. Grandfather Liu s treasure remained buried along with a time that no one wished to speak of. And no one returned to find it - until now.Huan Hsu, a journalist raised in America and armed only with curiosity, returned to China many years later. Wanting to learn more about not only his lost ancestral heirlooms but also porcelain itself, Hsu set out to separate the layers of fact and fiction that have obscured both China and his heritage and finally completed his family s long march back home.Melding memoir and travelogue with social and political history, The Porcelain Thief is an intimate and unforgettable way to understand the bloody, tragic and largely forgotten events that defined Chinese history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Bookseller Inventory # LIB9780007580927

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Huan Hsu
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1938, with the Japanese army approaching from Nanking, Huan Hsu s great-great grandfather, Liu, and his five granddaughters, were forced to flee their hometown on the banks of the Yangtze River. But before they left a hole was dug as deep as a man, and as wide as a bedroom, in which was stowed the family heirlooms.The longer I looked at that red chrysanthemum plate, the more I wanted to touch it, feel its weight, and run my fingers over its edge, which, like its country s - and my family s - history, was anything but smooth.1938. The Japanese army were fast approaching Xingang, the Yangtze River hometown of Huan Hsu s great-great-grandfather, Liu. Along with his five granddaughters, Liu prepares to flee. Before they leave, they dig a hole and fill it to the brim with family heirlooms. Amongst their antique furniture, jade and scrolls, was Liu s vast collection of prized antique porcelain.A decades-long flight across war-torn China splintered the family over thousands of miles. Grandfather Liu s treasure remained buried along with a time that no one wished to speak of. And no one returned to find it - until now.Huan Hsu, a journalist raised in America and armed only with curiosity, returned to China many years later. Wanting to learn more about not only his lost ancestral heirlooms but also porcelain itself, Hsu set out to separate the layers of fact and fiction that have obscured both China and his heritage and finally completed his family s long march back home.Melding memoir and travelogue with social and political history, The Porcelain Thief is an intimate and unforgettable way to understand the bloody, tragic and largely forgotten events that defined Chinese history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Bookseller Inventory # LIB9780007580927

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Book Description 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. In 1938, with the Japanese army approaching from Nanking, Huan Hsu's great-great grandfather, Liu, and his five granddaughters, were forced to flee their hometown on the banks of the Yangt.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 400 pages. 0.400. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007580927

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