From Publishers Weekly:
One of a generation of Chinese who grew up during Mao Tse-tung's cultural revolution, Cao contributes in this memoir to the growing volume of personal testaments to childhood and family life during those turbulent times. Cao captures both the ordinary and the extraordinary events and relationships in a life ruled by Mao's Little Red Book. In his case, his father, a former landlord, was branded a "class enemy" and his family of five assigned to live in a tiny attic where they all cooked, bathed and slept. For Cao, these were accepted conditions of life; he found pleasure in their aerie, wallowing in his mother's love and struggling to conform to society's expectations. The author-painter, sculptor, photographer and award-winning writer in today's China (Three Professors)-now lives in the U.S. This unadorned but artful account of his daily life as a schoolboy, his sister's experience in an agricultural camp, his father's demoralization and his mother's salutary strength all jolt the Western reader into a keen sense of the hardships and upheaval of those times.