Two girls come of age during the horrors of China’s Cultural Revolution in this novel by the national bestselling author of Empress Orchid.
The young and beautiful Wild Ginger is only in elementary school, but has already survived hell through her sheer iron will. Singled out by the Red Guards for her “foreign-colored eyes, ” she has seen her deceased father branded a traitor and her mother commit suicide under the oppressive weight of persecution. But the young Wild Ginger will not allow herself to be taken down. Nor will she turn her back on other martyrs—like sweet Maple, daughter of a teacher of Chinese history, survivor of a labor camp, and victim of daily brutal beatings by a gang girl called Hot Pepper.
While the two become fast friends over their shared ostracism, it is Wild Ginger who will take her Maoist principles to the extreme, becoming no less than a national model for the revolutionary Communist doctrine. But when both self-possessed young girls begin to feel a prohibited romantic love for the same boy, all three of them will face mortal danger.
In this novel, the author of Pearl of China and the New York Times Notable Book Red Azalea “continues her extraordinarily acute inquiry into the wounded psyches of martyrs…and survivors of China's horrific Cultural Revolution… As in all her unsparing, compelling, and transcendent books, Min discerns both the vulnerability and strength of individuals and, more disturbingly, unveils the eroticism of pain. Given our own times, Min's taut and compassionate tale of oppressed teenagers kept in ignorance of the wider world, children brainwashed into performing acts of violence and self-destruction, is especially urgent. ”—Booklist