杨本芬 (YANG Benfen)，1940年出生于湖南湘阴，17岁考入湘阴工业学校，后进入江西共大分校，未及毕业即下放江西农村。此后数十年为生计奔忙，相夫教子，后从某汽车运输公司退休。花甲之年开始写作，在《红豆》《滇池》等刊物上发表过短篇小说。2020年出版的处女作《秋园》，讲述了主人公秋园这位普通中国女性一生的故事，并以她的经历串联起百年中国的沧桑，深情而悲悯地描绘了底层乡间人物对苦难的承受与抵抗。此书一经出版，便在读者中引起不小的反响。
This book made me wonder, when we applaud our mother/female ancestors’ resilience, are we at the same time susceptible to justifying or at least turning a blind eye to our father/male ancestors’ absence (in ‘the private sector’) and the pain they themselves inflicted upon their families through gendered power imbalance.
As important as it is to make Mothers’ stories and female embodied life experiences visible by telling them, sensationalising and digesting these stories might also be a form of social control, a reminder to the new generation that they/we had it easy and make them/us vulnerable to exploitation and mistreatment. I’m not saying it’s better not to record and remember stories of women’s pain, struggle and resilience, but how not to put them on a pedestal in the process.
I tried to like this book, but I can’t shake off the feeling that maternal sacrifice was glorified and made virtuous.
The language style is too simplified, which is understandable but not tolerable. It was just a plain recording of some women's harsh lives in those sensitive years, being apparent that so many things can't be written out explicitly. All I felt is that these people are sad, desperate, yet they still fatuously believe in their government. Even if they didn't, these would not be able to be part of the book if it is to be published! So overall, I don't understand why people hyped it up so much that it appeared in my social media feeds every day.