A riveting tale of three generations spanning the end of Old China, Mao's regime and the Japanese occupation. Chang chronicles the enormous changes in China since 1929 through her family's story, which includes arrest during the Cultural Revolution, exile to the Sichuan wilderness and coming to terms with the bewildering state of China today. It's quite a tale, wonderfully told without a trace of rancor or bitterness. Living in London since 1978, Chang visits her mother back in China every year. You can imagine Chang with notebook in hand back in the family apartment absorbed in the stories of her much-loved mother. The book opens with the statement, "At the age of 15 my grandmother became the concubine of a warlord general. It was 1929 and China was in chaos."