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3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  549 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
An essential work for anyone interested in the society and history of modern China! The first half of the twentieth century was a period of great turmoil in China. Family, one of the most popular Chinese novels of that time, vividly reflects that turmoil and serves as a basis for understanding what followed. Written in 1931, Family has been compared to Dream of the Red Cha ...more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published January 1st 1972 by Waveland Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,036)
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Horace Derwent
Jun 15, 2016 Horace Derwent rated it it was amazing
the translation made my journey of reading it smooth, it was the first time i read this modern chinese classical 6 years ago
Feb 18, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book in highschool and then it went out of print and I could never find it. I searched used bookstores for years in the early nineties. It came to my mind again this year during our school's book fair and I realized that so much more is available because of the internet and sure enough Barnes and Noble could order me a copy. It's about the Chinese Youth Revolution and the downfall of feudalism basically. It's historical fiction and somewhat autobiographical. I'm reading it again and ...more
Montse Gallardo
Aug 29, 2015 Montse Gallardo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Es una novela interesante, aunque le falta algo para enganchar...

En lo positivo: tiene un estilo muy directo y ágil (esperaba algo más ceremonioso y lento, como otras novelas chinas que he leído) que hace que la novela se lea con fluidez; trata el tema de los cambios sociales en la China del final del imperio y previa al comunismos de una manera intimista, a través de los ojos, vivencias y opiniones de los personajes; es una novela universal, en tanto que trata un tema que pertenece a toda cultu
Jun 04, 2014 Rainah rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I was supposed to read this for my Chinese history class, but I never did because of how busy my spring semester became in such a short amount of time. I can honestly say I regret not reading it while school was still going on, though. As soon as summer started, I sat down and began reading it right away and I was engrossed almost instantly.

This book mixes fiction and historical events perfectly. There's enough factual information in it that you're learning while reading, however there's enough
Faye Zheng
Jan 30, 2015 Faye Zheng rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I probably would have enjoyed this more had I been able to read it in Chinese; the translation was a bit too stilted. Nonetheless, it was a great insight into the social revolution in the 1930s, when more independent-minded youth often found themselves running up against the confining rules and arrangements of their extended families.
Mar 16, 2012 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great look at early Nationalist Period China, circa May Fourth Movement. Incredibly interesting views on gender roles, equality, superstition, traditionalism, etc. One of the great Chinese novels. Must-read for anyone interested in the development of Modern China.
Apr 18, 2009 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been looking for this for years - I read it in college and could never find who wrote it. You try googling books with the word "family" in them. I finally hit the right combo (thanks wiki!!).

Fantastic book! I recommend it to anyone!
May 12, 2016 Kyc rated it it was amazing
This is not a perfect novel - it has too many technical faults, like being a whit sentimental and melodramatic, and some of the writing is clumsy or awkward stylistically, with many characters (especially the tearduct-active Juexin) weeping at the slightest provocation. In spite of these defects, it's still a monumentally important novel, as it demonstrates the Zeitgeist of the May Fourth Movement like no other - its message being that the old, feudal system of life in China (with arranged marri ...more
Feb 19, 2016 Monica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Family by Pa Chin is set in China during the early 20th century. Set during the time of modernization, it tells the story of how Western influence clashed with the Confucian beliefs that had been ingrained in Chinese society for hundreds of years. The story follows the Kao family, which lives in a compound with four generations under its roof. Three brothers in the family, Chueh-hsin, Chueh-hui, and Chueh-min are the focus on the novel. It follows how they learn to live with the changing times, ...more
Dec 27, 2013 christopher added it
Shelves: 2013
i could feel, i think, the effect/influence that writers like turgenev had in the of writing this.

i thought it was strange that a couple days before reading this i had read things about emma goldstein and peter kropotkin considering the influence they had on the characters in the book (and pa chin).

at one point "several years ago" i had wanted to write something similar to this although focusing less on the social system or moral system or filial system or whatever but looking at relationships
Rachel Terry
May 02, 2009 Rachel Terry rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 08, 2016 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
1920s Chinese "novel" (novella?) about how the feudal/patriarchal family system makes people miserable. My edition had pictures for every four sentences or so, and it really seemed like a storyboard for a soap opera. It was very relatable and heart-rending, if a little predictable at times.
becca sporky
Sep 22, 2010 becca sporky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-for-school
This book is great if you want to learn a lot about Asian culture, and more specifically, Chinese culture. It melds old Chinese tradition with modern China, and gives you insight into the way Chinese people think and feel, about their own culture and the world at large. This book uses a few simple metaphors to get it's point across and it's focus especially on the interconnectedness of all the characters and their relationships made me appreciate and understand their culture even more. I think i ...more
Cнrιѕтy ☂ (Christy S.)
One of the top books in my book list! A truly amazing book! Beautifully written and covers a lot about the culture of China at that period of time. Through the story, some of the characters' fate are affected due to China's old traditions. What makes it pleasing is that readers can see characters, especially the younger ones, are starting to fight back the old traditions. Currently investigating on the difference between women characters in this book and the women in the Dreams of Red Chambers, ...more
Nov 08, 2011 Connie rated it it was ok
This novel didn't do much for me. The overall plot is about the forming chasm within a family between modernism and tradition. The three protagonists each represent the different routes of adaptation for young adult men regarding loyalty to family and pursuing their love interests. While the storyline gives a lot of insight to the Chinese society's behavior at the turn of the century, I was irked in more way than one by the main protagonist's development. He was such a flat character. Chueh-hui ...more
Jun 20, 2009 Serena rated it liked it
Written in the 1930's by prolific writer Pa Chin, this novel is indicative of the struggles that China continues to endure. Set within the home of the affluent Kao family in Cheng-tu, it follows the main character, Chueh-hui through his Westernized (Russianized) thinking which favors anarchism--the complete overthrow of the patriarchal Confucian family system of traditional China. He watches his family fall apart as it seems anyone who adheres to the old ways meets only with tragedy.
May 10, 2015 Aura rated it liked it
Como testimonio histórico me parece relevante. Como metáfora de lucha contra el régimen tradicional basado en la obediencia y la opresión, también. Pero literariamente es débil y aleccionador. Lástima.
Nathan Money
Sep 30, 2013 Nathan Money rated it really liked it
A random book that was required for my Chinese lit class that I actually ended up loving and I don't know why. About a family, 3 brothers in particular, and how they each choose to respond to the demands of nationalist china and how their lives eventually turn out because of it. I can't remember the last book before this one that was required for class that I actually finished - the first time I actually got ahead of schedule for a book and was excited for what happened to them next.
Nov 16, 2010 h rated it liked it
as interesting for what it omits as what it includes. a tale centered around political and social unrest in China that nevertheless manages to make interpersonal tragedy the emotional focus. i didn't dislike the book, but i did find it very difficult to sympathize with any of the characters. this is perhaps my own failing for not having much familiarity with Chinese literature.
Wendy E.
Mar 21, 2012 Wendy E. rated it liked it
Shelves: world-lit-ib
While I'm always happy to add another renowned world literature selection to my "have read" list, I didn't love this one. The story is interesting enough. I think the small font and the deadline was a double-edged sword here. I probably wouldn't have finished it if I didn't have to, but that small print was really tough!
Jun 07, 2009 Elisa rated it really liked it
A Chinese novel focusing on one family at the height of the overthrow of the corrupt/unjust system before Communism. Red China actually really endorsed this novel as evidence for why there needed to be a revolution. Sad circumstances abound.
Sep 10, 2012 Fengshiyun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chinese version of this book has been sitting on my shelf for more than 20 years. After at least 4 attempts to read it, I finally finished it. Depressing but beautiful read. Well deserves its classic status in Chinese literature.
May 18, 2007 Nikki rated it really liked it
I really liked this book, although I'm not going to lie - I think one of my favorite parts about it was that my friend and I went through the book and made a family tree to better follow which character was which.
John Wan
Jun 15, 2007 John Wan rated it liked it
Good look at a family's transition in the early to mid 20th century. A grandfather's totalitarian rule that ruined three generations' happiness to pushing one member to the brink of joining the revolution.
Aug 12, 2007 Sisy rated it it was ok
Frankly, this book annoyed me a lot. All of the characters seem hypocritical & unlikeable. But then again, what can you expect from revolutionary/anarchist literature?
Jul 04, 2010 Sue rated it really liked it
A Chinese professor told me this is everyday reading for Chinese students. I really felt like I was a part of the time period,a little histrionic, but enlightening.
This book really pulls you into the characters and their struggles, and while it successfully stands alone, it also makes you want to read the sequel.
Jul 01, 2009 Shawnie rated it it was amazing
I learned so much about Chinese culture and family from this book. It's on my "favorites" list. Was a college class assigned read at CSULB.
Randy Hollenbach
Dec 07, 2012 Randy Hollenbach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great story of life in China on the eve of the revolution. It's a tale of growing up not just for the characters but for China itself.
Julius Jacinto
I didn't actually finish it. I didn't really like what the books is all about, so I didn't. I still think it's great though.
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Ba Jin (巴金) took this pen name from Russian anarchists Bakunin and Kropotkin.

Known also as "Pa Chin"
More about Ba Jin...

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