In the Countryside

978-1-881515-01-2 Paperback
5.5 x 8.5 x 0 in
72 pp. 7 line drawings. Gloss.
Pub Date: 01/23/1998


  • Paperback $6.95
"Kang (Connie Kang) is the editor of a new book, Zhiqing: Stories from China's Special Generation, recollections by Houston-based Chinese, who like her spent years of their most vigorous youth banished to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution. They were the educated youth, whom Mao wanted to be re-educated by the peasants to atone for the politically incorrect backgrounds of their families. In Kang's case, her great grandfather was the "royalist" Kang Youwei, China's most famous constitutional reformer but reviled during the Cultural Revolution...In the Countryside is Kang's own story of five years in Anhui, written in spare, vivid prose, as she relives the nightmare that keeps recurring long after her return to Shanghai...—Jane Larsen

For People of My Generation
And for People  Who Want To Know about My Generation

My dream always proceeds in this way...
We are farming in the field with the villagers. Someone comes back from the commune, bringing us the news that all the educated urban youth resettled in the countryside can now return to their own cities. We throw down the tools in our hands. We jump up and shout for joy, We run toward each other and embrace. We Laugh, we cry. We do nothing to conceal our feelings. We let our tears flow and flow. They are tears of anguish, tears of excitement, tears of despair, tears of yearning...

A few days have passed but no details come about the plan to send us back. A few weeks have passed, still we hear nothing. We begin to doubt the reliability of the news. Our joy fades and our anxiety  grows. We can do nothing but continue our life as before. Every morning we go to the field, praying that this will be the last to labor in the field. Every evening we drag our tired feet home, overwhelmed with the thought that still another day must be gone through, perhaps another week, another month, another year...

This is where my dream always ends. I wake up feeling a catch in my throat, tears in my eyes and a heart weighed down by the old painful longings...
The nightmare of the "Cultural Revolution" has long been over and our days and nights in the countryside have receded into past memories. These memories, however, do not fade with the passage of time. We cannot forget them because we lived the years of our adolescent life toiling in the field, because we tasted what can truly be called "hardships," because we paid our youth—our precious youth—to learn the lesson or "re-education."


Published by Texas Review Press