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The Porcelain Thief
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The Porcelain Thief

Searching the Middle Kingdom for Buried China

Bookseller Recommendation

The Porcelain Thief

“Huan Hsu chronicles his journey to unearth his family's porcelain, said to have been buried during WW2. The treasure was then lost during China's Cultural Revolution. Although the surviving family members can't agree to what was owned and what became of the porcelain, Huan Hsu's journey to for the truth has given him some great stories. He learns his family's history and discovers a China he was completely unprepared for. I decided to read this book because I enjoyed "The Hare with the Amber Eyes", however his time in the urban and rural areas reminded me of the dystopian and sci-fi novels I enjoy. And if you don't appreciate reading dystopian or sci-fi, you will like this for the writer's story telling, the cultural insight and the history.”

The Bookloft image Julia, The Bookloft

Description

A journalist travels throughout mainland China and Taiwan in search of his family’s hidden treasure and comes to understand his ancestry as he never has before.
 
In 1938, when the Japanese arrived in Huan Hsu’s great-great-grandfather Liu’s Yangtze River hometown of Xingang, Liu was forced to bury his valuables, including a vast collection of prized antique porcelain, and undertake a decades-long trek that would splinter the family over thousands of miles. Many years and upheavals later, Hsu, raised in Salt Lake City and armed only with curiosity, moves to China to work in his uncle’s semiconductor chip business. Once there, a conversation with his grandmother, his last living link to dynastic China, ignites a desire to learn more about not only his lost ancestral heirlooms but also porcelain itself. Mastering the language enough to venture into the countryside, Hsu sets out to separate the layers of fact and fiction that have obscured both China and his heritage and finally complete his family’s long march back home.

Melding memoir, travelogue, and social and political history, The Porcelain Thief offers an intimate and unforgettable way to understand the complicated events that have defined China over the past two hundred years and provides a revealing, lively perspective on contemporary Chinese society from the point of view of a Chinese American coming to terms with his hyphenated identity.


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