starred KIRKUS review and LIBRARY REVIEW
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.