Baba: A Return to China Upon My Father's Shoulders



starred KIRKUS review and LIBRARY REVIEW


Preface by Amy Tan

Baba is "Papa" in Chinese and this particular Baba is Joseph Yang, born in Manchuria in 1928.  His daughter, Belle, a writer and visual artist who was born in Taiwan but whose "spiritual address is so much in the West," set out to paint and to write--and thereby to preserve for posterity--Baba's memories of his coming-of-age in northern China in the 1930s and 1940s.  The result is the illustrated odyssey of the fourth of seven children in the House of Yang, a prominent Manchurian family, whose experience of the Japanese occupation, the Russian onslaught upon northeastern China, and the ensuing Chinese civil war makes for a spellbinding tale.

Throughout his journey, Baba's life is informed and influenced by characters both human and spiritual: the benevolent goddess Guanyin, the mystical Scholar Wang, and the vague and ominously prophetic Ma Po-po: "In one hundred days, I will have fully become...."

In prose as vibrant as the chartreuse and vermilion of her paintings, Belle Yang has performed no less than a miracle of translation.