Last month my college friend Dina heard Anchee Min speak in New York. When she raved about Min’s lecture, I thought back to how much I loved reading Red Azalea (Pantheon, 1994), Katherine (Berkley Trade, 2001), and Becoming Madame Mao (Mariner, 2001).
So I decided to pick up where I left off and read Wild Ginger (Mariner, 2002).
Set during the Cultural Revolution, the novel centers around a dangerous love triangle involving Shanghai teenagers. Wild Ginger is one-quarter French and branded a traitor because of her paternal grandfather’s lineage. Because she’s an outcast, she devotes her life to becoming the perfect Maoist, even if it means betraying her best–and only–friend and the man they both love.
I enjoyed Wild Ginger for its stark depiction of the suppressed emotions people had to endure in the name of patriotism back then. While I preferred Red Azalea and Becoming Madame Mao, I recommend Wild Ginger if you’re looking for a quick read and insight into a lost generation.