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3.8  ·  Rating details ·  806 Ratings  ·  62 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 August 1st 1988 by Waveland Press (first published 1933)
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The story concerns a wealthy family of four generations living in one mansion. Though a large family was considered to be a social ideal, the family members are barely able to conceal their resentment for each other, and they clash repeatedly over their wants and hopes for the future.

I had mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, Ba Jin's characters were often mouthpieces for their views instead of dynamic human beings, the dialogue is too often pedantic, but Ba Jin writes well enough tha
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ba Jin se hacía llamar así en honor de Bakunin y escribió esta perfecta introducción al periodo de la China republicana, justo antes de que el gran imperio se convirtiera en estado comunista.
Blanca Sejin
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
5 estrellas muy bien merecidas.
Cuando me mandaron este libro en clase jamás pensé que me fuera a gustar por mi experiencia con otros libros orientales, pero me sorprendió completamente.
El autor nos presenta una familia china enfrentada entre ella por los valores tradicionales y las nuevas ideas.
Los personajes están muy bien caracterizados y muchos de ellos te llegan al corazón fácilmente.
No sé qué más comentar, solo que es un libro precioso que representa la lucha de un joven (Juehui) para salir
David Mendiola
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting introspective look at China a hundred years ago. Strong themes of progress vs tradition. It was about negative 500 times as happy as I was expecting (I thought it was going to be something like Full House with Chinese family dynamics, but there was way more death and swearing of souls to revolutions than I recall from that TV show. Haven't seen the reboot though, so who knows). The main character (and probably the author) was brimming with revolutionary energy. I'm not sure how ac ...more
Megan Cureton
In Pa Chin’s novel, The Family, he portrays the radical and determined younger generation of the Kao family struggling against the monolithic family structure of the petty bourgeois. The story demonstrates the generational differences among the family members, and how their differing attitudes and adherence to tradition splits the family, cracking it at the core and enabling its collapse. I really enjoyed reading this book. I was assigned to read this book for a history course and after reading ...more
Feb 18, 2008 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
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I had to read this for a class. I did not expect it to make me cry like a little girl. It follows the young people in a traditional Chinese family as they struggle to break free of repressive expectations during the chaos of the 20s and 30s. It provided a closer look at the time period we're studying now. It's a powerful and gut-wrenching read.
Faye Zheng
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Tracy Mazur
Apr 18, 2009 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!
Mar 16, 2012 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.
Peter Magner
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Floris Meertens
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
De revolutionaire geest hebben, dat is niet zo moeilijk. Revolutionaire boeken lezen, tijdschriften uitbrengen, en discussiëren met je geestverwanten evenmin. Maar wanneer je de revolutie wil doorzetten, moet je veel opofferen. En is dat het waard?

Familie is een familieroman (wat een verrassing!), met als hoofdpersonen drie broers, waarbij conflicten tussen generaties centraal staan. China verkeert in chaos, de oude machtsstructuren worden weggevaagd, en de jongeren kijken opgewekt naar de toeko
Dominique "Eerie" Sobieska
The story follows the Gao family in a Ba Jin semi autobiography. It depicts the struggles between the old and new ways following the NCM.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
jue-hui is the prototype revolutionary softboy
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Too melodramatic and a bit too obvious in some ways. Still a good read.
Jun 04, 2014 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
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
Montse Gallardo
Aug 29, 2015 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
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Not a perfect novel, this has too many technical faults, like sentimentality and melodrama. Some of the writing is clumsy or awkward stylistically, and many of its characters (especially the tearduct-active Juexin) weep 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 - the message being that the old, feudal system of life in China (with arranged marriages, footbinding, un ...more
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic Chinese novel about tradition versus change and modernity. Set during the a time of sweeping political and societal change in China (the transition from the end of the Qing Dynasty to the beginning of the People's Republic of China under Sun Yat-Sen), the book explores how various members of a multi generational family grapple with changing societal norms in education, class, marriage, duty to the family, servitude, women's role in society, women's education, free will etc. The ...more
Rachel Terry
Apr 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charles Laughlin
Nov 06, 2016 rated it liked it
I first read this novel in college (the dates are just a guess) and have subsequently re-read it many times in the course of teaching it in my college courses. It is an extremely influential novel and beautifully typical of the literature of the 1920s, written in the wake of the May Fourth movement (it was published in 1930, I know, but the world it depicts is the world of Chengdu in the 1920s). It is highly readable, if somewhat maudlin, and it's in my opinion some distance from the greatest wr ...more
Dec 24, 2013 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
becca sporky
Sep 22, 2010 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
Alex Lee
Written from a position of modernity, Pa Chin takes a fairly rigid expression in recognizing the heavy burden of tradition centered on the Chinese family. He seems to speak from a position of radical change, but that's probably because at the position of this novel there is only the need for change. In a way, the characters and drama is melodramatic but that may just be to clearly emphasize the need for change. Read today, in a post-colonial world, this book appears quaint and perhaps difficult ...more
A fairly well-written, if decidedly melodramatic novel of the general feudalist shittiness of a China that struggled to modernize, while at the same time being positively steeped in millennia of Confucian tradition. Our characters are attempting to break free, all while getting caught up in courtly intrigues, dramatic deaths, and what not. It's all a bit silly to the modern reader, as so much romantic literature is, with their clunky symbolism and operatic plot points, but it was clearly an impo ...more
 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
Oct 28, 2011 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
Nathan Money
Sep 29, 2013 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.
May 26, 2009 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.
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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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“Not yet. I don't know what I'm so happy about. But it doesn't matter whether Ma agrees or not. I can make my own decisions. I'm a person, the same as the rest of you.” 1 likes
“Nor I, I don't think there could be a situation like that. Love is shining and righteous; there's nothing hidden about it. If a man 's heart is really ardent, how can he give the appearance of being cold and disinterested?” 1 likes
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