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A Leaf In The Bitter Wind

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  235 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
One of the best ways to understand history is through eye-witness accounts. Ting-Xing Ye’s riveting first book, A Leaf in the Bitter Wind, is a memoir of growing up in Maoist China. It was an astonishing coming of age through the turbulent years of the Cultural Revolution (1966 - 1974).

In the wave of revolutionary fervour, peasants neglected their crops, exacerbating the w
Paperback, 416 pages
Published March 16th 1998 by Anchor Canada (first published April 14th 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 478)
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Apr 10, 2009 Louise rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
Ting-Xing Ye's memoir is unbelievable, I couldn't put it down. The woman has led a life wrought with sadness and tragedies we can only read about in the lives of others. Ting-Xing is an amazingly strong woman, and a true survivor who deserves all the good the rest of her life can bring.

From back cover:

"Spanning 35 years, this enthralling memoir chronicles the life of a survivor who has been buffeted by the winds of history. Ting-Xing Ye was born in Shanghai, the fourth child of a factory owner w
Bailey Olfert
There is much to learn about China during the cultural revolution in this memoir, and none of it good: a lot of difficult reality.
[spoiler] Not having the author's experiences I cannot judge her, but the choice to leave her daughter is difficult for me as a reader to accept.
Jul 31, 2008 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned about Chinese culture, politics, and perspective from this book. It had a good plot at the same time. It is the memoir of a woman who lived through the Chinese cultural revolution.
== The heart and spirit of an enduring optimism ==

A potential reader trying to assess the content of this memoir of almost four hundred pages by looking at its title, the portrait and back-cover summary would perhaps categorize it as a dreary tale of woe by an escapee from the chaotic social and political nightmare that comprised the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Yes, it is about that: a tale of horrendous suffering and deprivation, denial of justice and human compassion, a family torn apart by
Dec 28, 2008 Marcy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A leaf in the Bitter Wind is a memoir worth reading. It depicts the life of a young child who grows up during the Cultural Revolution. Ting-Xing Ye faced all of the hardships of a child born to a "capitalist" father. She is treated like dirt in her elementary school; When Xing Ye is sent to a prison farm as a young girl, she is terrorized and psychologically tortured by the superiors. Her crime throughout her young life is that is was born to a "capitalist."

As the Cultural Revolution nears its
Nov 24, 2015 Kms rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ye Ting-Xing published two version but similar personal memoir of her early life in China.

Although some info is incorrect, such as Hai Rui Removed From Office is by Wu Han not Hu Han. Some experiences is kind of fictional to me, such as caricatures of John F Kennedy. In 1960s, where and when did she see the caricature of JFK with Xs in China? I still like her memoir.

I am curious about the answer to the questions in the EPILOGUE. Waiting for her third memoir about her life in Canada.
Nov 20, 2010 Carol rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A Chinese Cinderella story except the protagonist in the book is not as adorable. Towards the end of the book, the story starts looking like one of the Chinese communism guerrilla war movies I watched when I was a kid. They won the war, and entered the utopia, except the movies didn't have such scenes as long and hard kisses ( I wonder if they flossed their teeth before doing so). The abrupt ending of the biography can't help leaving one wonder how this fairytale would end! How will Leaf repay ' ...more
Feb 04, 2016 Imani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this in high school. It was so interesting, having an inside view of the Cultural Revolution in China. The story was compelling. A good reason I liked memoirs was probably because of this. I couldn't put it down.
Sep 07, 2009 Megan rated it really liked it
Well written memoir from the Cultural Revolution onwards. I read this at the same time as Jan Wong's "Red China Blues" and was interested to note the difference between the two books - one, Jan Wong's, about an idealistic Canadian choosing to come to China - and the other, this one, about a girl who had no choice but to suffer through the Cultural Revolution.

The ending surprises me - especially when I realized who her husband was (having read his books as well). I don't think the narrative accur
Jan 11, 2015 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written, powerful and moving memoir of a woman coming of age during the most repressive years of Communist China.
Jun 06, 2015 Michele rated it liked it
Reality stories are so much better than reality TV. This is a facinating memoir by a young woman who came of age during the Cultural Revolution in China. Her family history, inauspicious birth and cultural pressures make for a challenging life that includes time on a prison farm. Her intelligence and strong will enables her to maintain her sense of self and overcome these obstacles. This book provides an an interesting personal commentary on life in Communist China from the 60s through the 80s.
Mar 24, 2014 Colleen rated it really liked it
Such an interesting read. I learned a lot about communist china during this time period. The author doesn't overwhelm with details but gives the reader a clear understanding of the political climate at the time. The author had a rough life of hard work, turmoil and strife. I liked it.
Oct 28, 2008 Chelsea rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a memoir of the author's experiences during China's cultural revolution. Unfortunately, the writing doesn't go very much further beyond "this is what happened to me and it was really hard." Once I'd read the ending, I felt like the purpose of her book was to say, "My life was really hard, and that's why I decided to move in with my Canadian English teacher." Kind of a weird moral to the story.
Kevin Berger
I did find her story of life during Mao's oppressive Cultural Revolution fascinating, but the personal side of her story left me wondering about some of her life choices. As a parent, I couldn't fathom making the same decisions. Also, it's strange not to have more details on her life in Canada included in the book. Often, I found myself yearning to hear other people's versions of events.
Jun 01, 2012 Peggy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this one up at a thrift store and it was a great purchase for 25 cents! It is the autobiography of a woman who grew up in Maoist China, and gives a first hand look at what it was like when even the smallest misstep was made. The punishment was harsh on both the individual and their entire family. Excellent read.
Aug 12, 2011 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating and heartbreaking memoir of a girl growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution. Her drive to educate herself despite spending years of her youth at a prison farm is nothing less than miraculous.
Banafsheh Esmailzadeh
Sep 04, 2013 Banafsheh Esmailzadeh rated it it was amazing
My, my, where to even begin... I really felt for Ting-xing Ye all through reading this book. Her story will depress you but also inspire you, as you can see how strong it has made her. Highly recommended.
Carol Gaston
Astounded to find out what was actually happening in China when I was the same age.
Oct 02, 2007 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typical of English-language scar literature genre, where the woman has a tough life in China, meets a foreigner, escapes to the West, then writes her memoir in English with his help.
Aug 25, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good read - I learnt a lot about life in China at that time and how very hard it was! A personal story rather than a history book - so much more meaningful!
Nov 12, 2007 Tara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Amazing story of how a young girl's life is uprooted within Communist China. Really made me fall in love with memoirs from a female perspective in Communist China.
Oct 08, 2010 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suppose it's because I'm not an avid reader of (auto)biographies, but this has a good plot and turned me into instant cultural revolution hater.
ياسمين حلي
الرواية رااائعة لن أنساها ما حييت ..وتستمد روعتها من مونها قصة حقيقية تتجسد في رحلة كفاح امرأة ..رحلة طويلة تكللت بالنجاح نوعا ما والصمود الرائع .
Mar 17, 2008 Jeanette rated it it was amazing
A very moving personal account of living through the Cultural Revolution. She lives a couple of hours away from me now!!!
Jun 24, 2010 Marnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting book...kinda sad, sometimes scary. wonder if she's ever made contact with the daughter she left behind.
Karen Christie worline
Learned so much. Must read for anyone who interacts with Chinese people - encourages understanding.
Sep 16, 2012 Ktolsson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A more intimate portrait from other books I have read on the Cultural Revolution time period.
May 16, 2009 Elizabeth marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
A memoir of a former member of the Chinese Secret Police. (Ms. Ye defects to Canada.)
Aug 28, 2008 Sonja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. Amzing what people can survive. Also met the author. Wonderful woman.
Andrew Swenson
Andrew Swenson marked it as to-read
Jul 16, 2016
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Ting-xing Ye, author of the best-selling memoir, A Leaf in the Bitter Wind, was born in Shanghai, China, in 1952, the fourth of five children born to a factory owner and his wife. At sixteen she was “sent down” to a prison farm during the Cultural Revolution, spending six years there before being admitted to Beijing University. She took a degree in English Literature, then began a seven year caree ...more
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