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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2021 Michael Crouch Award, debut category of the National Biography Award: From famine to freedom, how a young boy fled Chairman Mao's China to a new life in Australia

Andrew Kwong was only seven when he witnessed his first execution. The grim scene left him sleepless, anxious and doubtful about his commitment as a revolutionary in Mao's New China. Yet he knew if he devoted himself to the Party and its Chairman he would be saved. That's what his teacher told him.

Months later, it was his own father on trial. This time the sentence was banishment to a re-education camp, not death. It left the family tainted, despised, and with few means of survival during the terrible years of persecution and famine known as the Great Leap Forward. Even after his father returned, things remained desperate. Escape seemed the only solution, and it would be 12-year-old Andrew who undertook the perilous journey first.

This is the poignant, resonant story of a young boy's awakening – to survival, education, fulfilment, and eventually to a new life of freedom.

PRAISE

"An incredibly powerful book." (Benjamin Law)

"[A] moving family saga, shot through with yearning and hard-won joy." (Fiona Capp, Sydney Morning Herald)

"This book will live on in your heart long after you've read the last page." (Vicki Laveau-Harvie, author of The Erratics)

"Heart-breaking, honest, personal, Andrew Kwong's moving journey from oppression to freedom is inspiring." (Susanne Gervay, OAM, author)

"A work of startling clarity...reminiscent of Angela's Ashes." (South China Morning Post Magazine)

©2020 Andrew Kwong (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

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Delightful Find

This book was initially chosen because of the fantastic narration from Jason Chong on a previous book I listened to. The story and has narration were such a delight and I almost feel teary now that the story has ended...happy tears. I learned so much about a culture I have not had much exposure to, coming from Africa. I am also so touched by how dedicated Andrew was in trying to reconnect with his friends. Thank you Andrew and Jason for a touching story beautifully written and read.

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Absolutely brilliant

A powerful, captivating and moving story which was very well written and exceptionally narrated. Highly recommended and will not disappoint.

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One of the best biographies I've ever listened too

Very good narrator, couple of skips but overall great audiobook. One of the best biographies I've ever listened too, made me laugh and cry. Well worth the listen, highly recommend this audiobook.

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A story worth telling

I really enjoyed this audiobook and the voice of Jason Chong tells at well. The story is written very well in a clean way and as one of the other reviewers said, that Andrew Kwong must have had a photographic memory to remember so much detail from his past. It's amazing how the Chinese authorities were just teaching so many revolutionary slogans to everyone. Like long live chairman Mao. But Mao died, and I wonder how many people mourned. I feel for all the people that were left behind in China, let's pray that they continue to build China for the good of all Chinese people.

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  • BG
  • 11-11-2020

Mesmerised from the very beginning.

What a journey. This book has the perfect narration for such a memorable narrative.

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Brilliant.

Remarkable story. Thank you Dr Kwong & also Jason. ( I had the privilege to live in Macau during the 80s. Able to relate with your story on so many levels. ) Highly recommend.

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Wonderful and Emotional

I decided I wanted to listen to this Audiobook after hearing short excerpts from each chapter of it on ABC Radio over several nights. From those excerpts, as someone who has never been interested in reading books, I just had to try listening to the book. I wasn't let down. A true story of a Family's struggle and determination under the rule of the Communist Government of China, through undeserved persecution & famine, bringing with it decisions to separate family & improve the family's 'lot in life'.

Over 12.5 hours in length, I listened to this book over several days, between work & chores at home, whenever I could find 15 minutes or more. I was eager to take in more, like I had never been before when it comes to books. I rode the highs and lows of this family, all the time wishing things would work out well for them.

The end of the book, sadly came much to my disappointment, as I wanted it to go on and on. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in true stories, of struggle, heartache, perseverance and triumph. From the first chapter to the Epilogue, there was never any doubt, that if I were to rate this book, that I would give it the highest possible score!

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Worth all the time, trials and tears

During the past handful of years I was able to read snippets of this epic. Amazed by the requirements of a child's life in China during the same first decade of my life when the worst thing that I had to hold me back, or hold me down was an older brother, threatening me with a handful of cow poo if I didn't let him wear my gumboots. All I can say is, how lucky we are to have this voice in our lives right now.

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  • Malia Allen
  • 24-08-2021

Work of historic art

Well written. This is truly a work of historic art. I loved every page. It truly captures everything from beginning to present day.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.