“A searingly authentic account of one remarkable young woman’s travails in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. I couldn’t put it down. This is memoir writing at its finest.” – Robert Macklin, author of Dragon and Kangaroo – China and Australia’s shared history.
Read ANZ Litlovers’ review: “It’s not just a window into the lives of Chinese migrants of this generation, it is also a real pleasure to read. (I couldn’t put it down).” – Lisa Hill
Bright Swallow, a young girl labelled as of ‘bad origins’ in Mao’s Cultural Revolution, becomes motherless at fifteen in 1972. Determined to live a full life like her mother had known, she seizes every chance, creates choices where there appear to be none and finally has the world open up to her. The memoir distinguishes itself from other accounts of this period in being a story of hope. It celebrates resilience, the power of literature, music and the imagination; and pays tribute to the people who retained the fundamental decency that can easily disappear in adverse circumstances. Mao’s China is now history, but similar dark regimes and mad ideologies still exist. There is much suffering from discrimination, humiliation and injustice at this moment. This is why this memoir has been written.
“A moving and surprising story of ordinary people living through an extraordinary time, told with great honesty by a storyteller who is herself full of curiosity and hope.” – Dr Sue Wiles, co-author of Women of the Long March
“A Chinese Bildungsroman of a girl’s burning desire for the best of lives against all odds.” – Dr Patricia Maréchal, Alliance Française de Sydney
“Brilliantly told and beautifully written. I have read many books, in English and Chinese, about individuals’ experiences during the Cultural Revolution and the immediate post Mao early Deng period. But Vivian Bi’s is the most moving and balanced I have come across …” – Cliff Pannam QC author of Music From a Jade Flute and Will the Phoenixes Ever Return?
Watch Vivian Bi in a conversation with cultural facilitator and translator, Jane Sydenham-Kwiet, where she describes the background of Mao’s Communist China and its impact on China’s cultural landscape as depicted in her 2020-published novel, Dragon’s Gate in this episode of SCCI Virtual Fashion Hub 2020 https://www.scci.org.au/communist-china-fashion-hub/
To read Author Notes on writing Bright Swallow scroll down to the bottom of the page.