Great book – The Crippled Tree

The Crippled Tree is the first volume of Han Su Yin’s autobiography. Published in 1965, it covers the years 1885 to 1928, beginning with her father’s early life up to her childhood in Peking in the 1920s.

Her father was a Hakka sent to study engineering in Belgium where he married Marguerite, a Belgian. Marguerite lived a very difficult life in a China ravaged by bandits and short of life’s necessities.

Her cook was decapitated by bandits and his head is in the garden as told in her letter to her ” Dear Papa, Dear Mama “. In the same letter, she asked her parents to send her two dozen tins of talcum powder for her little one crying with prickly heat. The little one was Han Su Yin (page 11).

Han Su Yin writes very well. She takes the trouble to write at length on the social aspects of Old China to assist a Western reader. Her books are sadly out of print now except for …and The Rain Her Drink. But you can buy at websites like Amazon and

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