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Title A Daughter Remembers  
ISBN 978 981 4302 77 7
Imprint Marshall Cavendish Editions
Li Lien-fung
Specifications 130 mm x 198 mm / 368 pp / PB
Publication Date Oct-2011
Target Audience Biographies, Chinese History and Culture
Price (US) USD 15.99 BUY NOW
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About the Book

A Daughter Remembers is a powerful, intense story of a daughter coming to terms with her parents' separation and their long-distance relationship.

Left behind in war-torn China when her husband went to work in the United States, Li Lien-fung's mother lived with her in-laws the way a Chinese wife traditionally did. When her husband sent back his savings for her to join him, her mother-in-law decreed that the money be used to send Thirteenth Uncle, and then Fourteen's Uncle, to the U.S. After two such unfruitful remittances, her husband sent no more money because by then he had acquired a new wife and family in America.

Li Lien-fung's father, Dr. Li Kuo-ching, came from a peasant family in Hunan and rose to become a brilliant engineer and eventually a wealthy business man in New York. Her mother, Luo Bu-ge, was from the landed gentry, and graduated top of her class in Hunan's first high School for Girls. They were supposed to be an ideal match for the New China of 1911. Why then did her father abandon her mother in China, and marry another woman in New York? Or did he remain loyal to his first wife, and only take on a concubine?

This book, which Li Luen-fung originally wrote in Chinese and then translated to English herself, is her attempt to piece together the fragments of their lives, and how it has impacted her.

About the Author

Born in Shanghai in 1923, Li Luen-fung grew up within an extended family, with a loving mother and an absent father. From childhood, she spoke the Hunanese dialect at home, Shanghainese on the streets outside, and Mandarin in school. Even at the tender age of thirteen, she showed literary promise, as her essay about walking to school was included in Mao Dun's groundbreaking book, One Day in China, a collection of essays from all China.

In 1937, during the Japanese invasion of Shanghai, she and her family moved back to their home province of Hunan, where she attended Zhounan Girl's Middle School for a year before relocating to Hong Kong with her mother. There she finished High School and enrolled in Lingnan University. In 1940 she left her mother, who returned to live in Shanghai, to study at Mills College in Californian and then at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, graduating with a BA in Chemistry and an MA in English Literature. It was during this period in the U.S. that she reconnected with her father in New York, and grudgingly grew to understand and love him.

She married Cornell schoolmate Ho Rih-hwa in 1946, and shortly afterwards they were sent by her father's company, Wah Chang, to work in Burma and then in Bangkok. Lien-fung was instrumental in starting up and operating several factories making modified starch from Tapioca in Thailand.

In the early 1970's, Lien-fung and her family settled in Singapore, where her husband had been born and where most of his relatives still lived. It was within the bilingual culture of Singapore that Lien-fung's writing found an eager audience. Always a prolific but private writer, Lien-fung began writing a weekly English-Chinese column for the Straits Times, "Bamboo Green", which spanned a total of eleven years. Among her books in English are A Joss Stick for My Mother, The Sword has Two Edges, Only a Sandpiper and Burning at the Red Cliffs.

This book, A Daughter Remembers, is her own translation of her memoirs in Chinese, Lian Pian Ling Zhi.

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