Bette Bao Lord

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Enid Saunders Candlin

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This extraordinarily good novel [Spring Moon: A Novel of China] presents a panorama of those events which have precipitated China from one crisis to another during the past century. The personages, members of a privileged family, range from the most old-fashioned clan elders and their wives to the half-Westernized "returned students," and the thrusting younger generations, whose world is collapsing around them. One's interest is held from start to finish, so well organized is the complicated mise en scène of this necessarily tragic account….

[Spring Moon is] a careful and vivid account of the crucial years of the dissolution of the Manchu Empire, the attempt to establish a republic, two Japanese wars, the Kuomintang's struggle with the communists, and the latter's seizure of the country. The tempo quickens, and the language, at the beginning often banal, strengthens and becomes convincing.

The author does not attempt to explain or interpret, letting events speak for themselves as national situations are transposed into family affairs.

Enid Saunders Candlin, "Moving Saga of Chinese Family" (reprinted by permission of the author) in The Christian Science Monitor, November 9, 1981, p. B7.

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