I've read several books, both fiction and nonfiction, that concern the Cultural Revolution, but this is perhaps the most unusual and certainly one of the best.
Swimming Back to Trout River gripped me from the beginning and my interest never flagged. Beautifully written with characters who are individual and complicated, hopeful and talented, and then confronted with the Cultural Revolution's efforts to purge capitalism, foreign influence, and tradition. Young intellectuals were sent to the countryside to experience manual labor and "rehabilitation."
Momo, Cassia, and Dawn were young and talented, but the upheaval in their lives after being sent to the countryside required remarkable resilience. When the Cultural Revolution ends, Momo, Cassia, and Dawn attempt to rebuild their lives in different ways, and Junie, Momo and Cassia's daughter is left in China with her beloved grandparents.
Momo's goal is to reunite with Junie, to bring her to America. Junie, however, cannot imagine a life away from Trout River.
One of the most impressive elements in the story in the influence of music on the main characters and the importance of art and creativity in their lives.
Beautifully written, thoughtful, and perceptive, Linda Rui Feng has written a novel that will linger with its readers in many ways. It is one of my favorite novels of last year. Highly Recommended.
Read in December; blog review scheduled for April.
NetGalley/Simon & Schuster.
Multicultural History. May 11, 2021. Print length: 272 pages.