Tracing It Home

Lynn Pan

This is not a typical memoir.  What we have is the author (who achieved fame for her Sons of the Yellow Emperor) tracing her roots after the death of her dad in London.

Her tracing brings her back to her hometown Shanghai where her grandfather worked his way up from a coolie to a successful property developer. (p 23).

The civil war and the subsequent communist victory forced the family to flee. First to Hong Kong and then to Sabah, Malaysia where her parents rebuilt their wealth.

At the center of this search is Hanze, an old loyal servant of her grandfather.  Despite serving 24 years in Chinese Turkestan during the Cultural revolution, his memory was intact.  His loyalty to the family strong.  It was Hanze who took Lynn around Shanghai showing her family roots.

Lynn writes very well.  There is a certain lyricism in her sentences. I recommend this book. Her family story shows how the larger currents of history can disrupt the fortunes of ordinary men and women.

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