Author(s): Anchee Min
In 1994, Anchee Min published Red Azalea, a memoir of growing up during the violent trauma of the Cultural Revolution. It became an international bestseller. Twenty years later, Min returns to give us the next chapter, as she moves from the shocking deprivations of her homeland to the sudden bounty of the promised land of America, without language, money or a clear path. With the help of actress Joan Chen, Anchee applies to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She shows a portfolio of her self-taught brush paintings at the US consulate and is granted an entry visa, but once in America, Anchee finds she is on her own, forced to survive by her wits and indomitable spirit. She teaches herself English by watching Sesame Street, has five jobs at once sleeps in unheated rooms in desolate neighbourhoods. As well as her struggle to understand her new country - the food, the warm showers - Anchee suffers rape, collapses from exhaustion, marries poorly and divorces after giving birth to her daughter, Lauryann. Despite her tough, lonely journey, Anchee finds that it is Lauryann who will save her and root her, finally, in America.
As a child, Anchee understood herself as a mere 'bolt on the great machine that was Communism'; in America she learns how to succeed in a radically different culture despite bitter hardships and countless setbacks. The Cooked Seed is an unforgettable story.
The sequel to Anchee Min's internationally bestselling memoir, Red Azalea, in which she leaves China for America, struggles to find her way, her voice and her love - and succeeds in all
She writes with the mix of blunt candor and high drama that distinguishes both her memoirs. It's a prose style inspired by the didactic operas and films of Madame Mao ... She has developed it into an instrument with remarkable range, full of sorrow and humor, sometimes appealingly coarse and sometimes nuanced ... The United States gave Ms. Min the chance to transport the seeds of her extraordinary story across the oceans, and urged them into bloom International Herald Tribune People with nothing left to lose are reckless and thrilling. With no English or money, Min outwits and outworks the Western system, and this book is part underdog thriller as she claws her way to love and success ... This woman brutalised by doublespeak revels in her new-found luxury of honesty. She's fearless on black politics; spoilt, middle-class kids; and spending her last dollars on porn to assuage her loneliness. Her first book shocked Western readers for its depiction of the East, this one will unnerve them for her depiction of the West The Times A truly inspiring story -- Laura Cox Irish Examiner
Anchee Min was born in Shanghai in 1957. At seventeen she was sent to a labour collective, where a talent scout for Madame Mao's Shanghai Film Studio recruited her to work as a propaganda film actress. She moved to the United States in 1984. Her first memoir, Red Azalea, was published in twenty-seven countries. She has since published six novels, including the Richard & Judy choice Empress Orchid, The Last Empress and, most recently, Pearl of China. She lives in California.