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by Ræ Yang
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History & Criticism
  • Author:
    Ræ Yang
  • ISBN:
    0520204808
  • ISBN13:
    978-0520204805
  • Genre:
  • Publisher:
    University of California Press; 1st edition (April 28, 1997)
  • Pages:
    318 pages
  • Subcategory:
    History & Criticism
  • Language:
  • FB2 format
    1108 kb
  • ePUB format
    1778 kb
  • DJVU format
    1109 kb
  • Rating:
    4.1
  • Votes:
    981
  • Formats:
    rtf docx lrf txt


Spider Eaters is a solid memoir that really does a solid job introducing you to a side of things that you didn't know before and giving you a solid tour of it while you're there.

ISBN-13: 978-0520215986. Spider Eaters is a solid memoir that really does a solid job introducing you to a side of things that you didn't know before and giving you a solid tour of it while you're there. Spider Eaters" is an interesting and creative title and well matches the contents. This is a most fascinating and moving memoir.

Rae Yang's Spider Eaters goes far in building that understanding. It is a gripping memoir. Very interesting, but horribly depressing. I kept having nightmares about the situation in the book/in history while reading this book for a class

Rae Yang's Spider Eaters goes far in building that understanding. ―Lisa See, author of On Gold Mountain. I kept having nightmares about the situation in the book/in history while reading this book for a class. Certainly good to read, though, and to understand this period in history.

This engrossing memoir deals with the cultural revolution of the 1960s, when Yang became a Red Guard who denounced adults she considered es. With other fanatic teens, she traveled the country spreading propaganda, raiding homes and inflicting beatings on anyone suspected of political disloyalty; one of these beatings led to the death of the victim.

Earlier this century the Chinese writer Lu Xun said that some of our ancestors must have bravely attempted to eat crabs so that we would learn they were edible. Our ancestors suffered their bitter taste and spared us their poison. Rae Yang, a daughter of privilege, became a spider eater at age fifteen, when she enthusiastically joined the Red Guards in Beijing. By seventeen, she volunteered to work on a pig farm and thus began to live at the bottom of Chinese society.

Spider Eaters is at once a moving personal story, a fascinating family history, and a unique chronicle of political upheaval told by a Chinese woman who came of age during the turbulent years of the Cultural Revolution. With stunning honesty and a lively, sly humor, Rae Yang records her life from her early years as the daughter of Chinese diplomats in Switzerland, to her girlhood at an elite middle school in Beijing, to her adolescent experience as a Red Guard and later as a laborer on a pig farm in the remote northern wilderness.

Excellent Book! An amazing story written by an amazing woman. Rae Young does a wonderful job painting the story of her life. Her well written prose easily allow readers to picture and imagine the events described in the book. A book which is both interesting and eye opening. I recommend this book to people interested in biographies, China, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, Chinese Communism, and/or people interested about life in China from ~1950-1979. In general, I think this is a Excellent Book!

Spider Eaters is at once a moving personal story, a fascinating family history, and a unique chronicle of political upheaval told by a Chinese woman who came of age during the turbulent years of the Cultural Revolution.

Spider Eaters: A Memoir. Spider Eaters - Rae Yang. Spider Eaters is at once a moving personal story, a fascinating family history, and a unique chronicle of political upheaval told by a Chinese woman who came of age during the turbulent years of the Cultural Revolution  .

Spider Eaters is at once a moving personal story, a fascinating family history, and a unique chronicle of political upheaval told by a Chinese woman who came of age during the turbulent years of the Cultural Revolution. With stunning honesty and a lively, sly humor, Rae Yang records her life from her early years as the daughter of Chinese diplomats in Switzerland, to her girlhood at an elite middle school in Beijing, to her adolescent experience as a Red Guard and later as a laborer on a pig farm in the remote northern wilderness. She tells of her eventual disillusionment with the Maoist revolution, how remorse and despair drove her almost to suicide, and how she struggled to make sense of conflicting events that often blurred the line between victim and victimizer, aristocrat and peasant, communist and counterrevolutionary. Moving gracefully between past and present, dream and reality, the author artfully conveys the vast complexity of life in China as well as the richness, confusion, and magic of her own inner life and struggle.Much of the power of the narrative derives from Yang's multi-generational, cross-class perspective. She invokes the myths, legends, folklore, and local customs that surrounded her and brings to life the many people who were instrumental in her life: her nanny, a poor woman who raised her from a baby and whose character is conveyed through the bedtime tales she spins; her father; her beloved grandmother, who died as a result of the political persecution she suffered.Spanning the years from 1950 to 1980, Rae Yang's story is evocative, complex, and told with striking candor. It is one of the most immediate and engaging narratives of life in post-1949 China.

Carrot
This is fascinating and yet serious book. Two episodes interested me the most. One is about Wen, one of the educated youth who went from Beijing to Great North Wildness. He made himself well-known locally for his fortune-telling skills. Although the author does not believe it, it is funny that based on the information in the book, Wen’s fortune-telling about the author and her friend Fang turned out to be quite close.
The other is about the backdoor dealing. There is vivid description about how she used “cannon and grenade” to bribe the officers.
I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to peer into the life under Mao, especially during the Cultural Revolution.
Balladolbine
In college I wrote my senior year historical thesis on the subject of the Cultural Revolution. Simply put, this book was the most interesting I read in the subject.
Dominator
This is the third copy of this book that I've bought. It's so good that I've given it as gifts to friends. My daughter gave it to me originally. It's fascinating to read about the woman who lived through the fall of a dynasty and all of the immense changes that it entailed.
Gelgen
Spider Eaters is a solid memoir that really does a solid job introducing you to a side of things that you didn't know before and giving you a solid tour of it while you're there.
Fecage
After reading "Spider Eaters" and several books like it ("Son of the revolution", "A Woman's ordeal", "Troublemaker".. ect) I wasn't Sure how to review this one. "Spider Eaters" is a much more complex memoir than the others. "Spider Eaters" does not have the simple emotional punch of other memoirs in it's class yet as a memoir it works well. As a first person acount of mordern China it works well but the book is so much more than just a personal History. Spider Eaters is probably best described as a personal psychologial drama.
How does a poor little rich girl survive the mental abuse that is the demonicaly inspired communism of mordern day china? How does a girl with dreams and aspirations of any little girl suppress those dreams and thoughts when they conflict with the strict communist party line and exposing them can mean ruin?
Rae Yang first creates a fantasy hero, an almost Christ like figure who resuces the poor stands up for the wokers even to the point of death. Later when "politicaly correect" she transfers that figure to Chairman Moa and ultimately begins to see herself as that figure. A Savior who is betrayed by those she loved. Later still while living in the US she must find ways to reconcile all the various personalities into one functioning adult. A psychologist could have a field day with this book. Spider Eaters to me is a frighting look at the damage Communism can do to the minds of those it inslaves, and how a person can cope once freed of it's grasp.
Haal
"Spider Eaters" is an interesting and creative title and well matches the contents. This is a most fascinating and moving memoir. I have read several autobiographies written about the beginnings of Communism in China and the Cultural Revolution, and this is by far one of the best. Many such books these days are advertised as "belonging on the shelf next to Wild Swans". I've always felt such claims are exaggerated as Wild Swans for me was quite exceptional. But Spider Eaters truly does deserve to be in the same category.
Having just finished "Life and Death in Shanghai" by Nien Cheng prior to "Spider Eaters" I found reading the other side of the coin intriguing. Nien Cheng was imprisoned for six and a half years in solitary confinement, accused of being a British spy as she had worked for Shell company. Her beautiful home and belongings were trashed by the Red Guards. Then I read Rae Yang's account of her experience as a Red Guard. She was responsible for persecuting such bourgeois "Capitalist Roaders" as Nien Cheng. I am sure that both these women would like, admire and respect each other if ever they had met, and yet during these times they were class enemies. How sad.
If the author should read this review, I would like to thank you so much for your wonderful honesty in relating not just the events of your life, but also your thoughts and dreams. I was reluctant to finish your book as I felt I had come to know you so well. What I read almost felt like a personal letter. Your book is wonderful reading and it has long stayed on my mind. It stirred my emotions deeply. And can I just say, that I am so glad you came to love your pigs. I especially warmed to you when I read of your feelings for them and your sense of betrayal when they were sent to be slaughtered. I would have felt exactly the same. I understood completely and you certainly wouldn't have been a laughing stock to me had I been present.
I discovered Spider Eaters through Amazon and am disappointed that more have not reviewed it. Spider Eaters is far more than a memoir. It is also a literary delight. Extremely well worth reading!