The House of Exile: Supplemented Edition (with Return to the House of Exile)

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9780939149780: The House of Exile: Supplemented Edition (with Return to the House of Exile)

A young American woman's firsthand account of aristocratic family-life in pre-revolutionary China from 1920 to 1932. Also of the fateful events she witnessed from a privileged position as the adoptive "Daughter by Affection" of a noble Chinese family. The book became a renowned bestseller translated into fourteen languages and earning for its author an international reputation. Portions of an unfinished sequel augment this edition and appear here for the first time, along with personal photographs.

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From Publishers Weekly:

A bestseller when first published in 1933, this tale of an American woman in China has been reprinted here along with five chapters of an unpublished sequel. Waln's simple, graceful prose and sensitive powers of observation stand up well after 60 years, though she analyzes culture in greater depth than she does politics. Born into a family of traders, Waln from childhood dreamed of visiting China, and in 1920 she journeyed there, living as a virtual adopted daughter of the wealthy Lin family in their North China homestead, known as the "House of Exile." She offers detailed descriptions of daily life, the rhythms of the farm and the history of Chinese marriage. After she weds an Englishman, Waln supervises her household and corresponds with her Chinese "mother" (their formal yet warm letters are reproduced here). Waln went on to write articles about China and to follow the rise of the Chinese Nationalists; she expresses sympathy for Chinese who fear foreigners as well as for those who fear other Chinese. After some 15 years in the West, Waln returned to China in 1947 to begin a sequel, and the surviving chapters hint at an intimate tale of the country's traumas, such as the story of a lute player found guilty of heresy by a Communist people's court. Illustrations.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Waln (1895-1964) was a world traveler and author of books and magazine articles. At the invitation of a Chinese family, she went to China in 1920 and spent most of the next dozen years there. She vividly describes customs, the life of an upper-class family, and the political and social struggles of the nation. Her coverage of political affairs could have been more revealing (e.g., she could have expanded on her meetings with Mao Zedong, Michael Borodin, etc.), but this Renaissance woman's perspective on daily life in early 20th-century China belongs in public libraries and subject area collections. (This edition reprints the 1933 original, adding five surviving chapters of an unfinished sequel begun in 1947; the new chapters do not make this an essential purchase for libraries holding the original.)-- Kenneth W. Berger, Duke Univ. Lib., Durham, N.C.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Nora Waln, C. Leroy Baldridge
Published by Soho Press (1992)
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