The Rice Sprout Song

The Rice Sprout Song

Eileen Chang / Aug 21, 2019

The Rice Sprout Song The first of Eileen Chang s novels to be written in English The Rice Sprout Song portrays the horror and absurdity that the land reform movement brings to a southern village in China during the early

  • Title: The Rice Sprout Song
  • Author: Eileen Chang
  • ISBN: 9780520210882
  • Page: 324
  • Format: Paperback
  • The first of Eileen Chang s novels to be written in English, The Rice Sprout Song portrays the horror and absurdity that the land reform movement brings to a southern village in China during the early 1950s Contrary to the hopes of the peasants in this story, the redistribution of land does not mean an end to hunger Man made and natural disasters bring about the threat oThe first of Eileen Chang s novels to be written in English, The Rice Sprout Song portrays the horror and absurdity that the land reform movement brings to a southern village in China during the early 1950s Contrary to the hopes of the peasants in this story, the redistribution of land does not mean an end to hunger Man made and natural disasters bring about the threat of famine, while China s involvement in the Korean War further deepens the peasants misery Chang s chilling depiction of the peasants desperate attempts to survive both the impending famine and government abuse makes for spellbinding reading Her critique of communism rewrites the land reform discourse at the same time it lays bare the volatile relations between politics and literature.

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      Posted by:Eileen Chang
      Published :2018-011-15T19:15:56+00:00

    About "Eileen Chang"

      • Eileen Chang

        Eileen Chang is the English name for Chinese author , who was born to a prominent family in Shanghai one of her great grandfathers was Li Hongzhang in 1920.She went to a prestigious girls school in Shanghai, where she changed her name from Zhang Ying to Zhang Ailing to match her English name, Eileen Afterwards, she attended the University of Hong Kong, but had to go back to Shanghai when Hong Kong fell to Japan during WWII While in Shanghai, she was briefly married to Hu Lancheng, the notorious Japanese collaborator, but later got a divorce.After WWII ended, she returned to Hong Kong and later immigrated to the United States in 1955 She married a scriptwriter in 1956 and worked as a screenwriter herself for a Hong Kong film studio for a number of years, before her husband s death in 1967 She moved from New York to Los Angeles in 1972 and became a hermit of sorts during her last years She passed away alone in her apartment in 1995.


    103 Comments

    1. A few days before I left China, a friend handed me two books by Eileen Chang, an author who for a long time had been on my list but who I never actually got around to reading. I read one of them, The Rice-Sprout Song, on my flight home from China nearly a month ago, and a day hasn't gone by that I haven't thought about it at least once. Although it came out in 1955 and there's no need for yet another review, I had to put down a few thoughts.The Rice-Sprout Song is set in China's countryside duri [...]


    2. Eileen Chang's "The Rice Sprout Song" was written in English and published in 1955 with support from the United States Information Service. The sponsors no doubt expected a strongly anti-Communist piece of propaganda. What resulted, to be sure, portrays the chaos and hunger of land reform in the first years of Communist power, but Chang was too subtle a writer and too interested in the complexities of human relationships, particularly those between men and women, to produce the black-and-white w [...]


    3. This novel is the first novel that Eileen Chang wrote originally in English with a later version in Chinese (秧歌). I chose to read the Chinese edition as I wanted to feel closer to the characters in the novel as well as to the author. Before this novel, I had never read any of her works, because as an adolescent I had preferred to read novels by the Taiwanese novelist Chiung Yao (瓊瑤).The title of the novel refers to a festive folk song that used to be sung by villagers in the countryside [...]


    4. I found it hard to get into Eileen Chang’s 1955 novel, written in English, _The Rice Sprout Song_. Though she had been an urban writer, the portrayal of villagers attempting to follow the party line is credible. I did not find any direct links between land reform and the pervasive hunger. Rather, it appeared to me that the Maoist regime was siphoning off what was produced by both taxes and forced contributions (to support the families of Red Army soldiers) that reduced the peasants to constant [...]


    5. Chang opposed the Communist Party vehemently and attempted to portray the shortcomings of communism in this book through the lens of a rural village. Although what was written was very much true, one can't deny that Chang presented an exaggerated and biased view of the subject due to her political views.


    6. Eileen Chang suffered the Chinese curse of living in interesting times. She grew up in the wild Shanghai of the thirties, made her name as a novelist in the war-torn forties (Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution" is based on her writing), and was married to a collaborator with the Japanese, eventually immigrating to the United States. "The Rice Sprout Song" is from the fifties, an examination of early Maoism in the countryside from this very urban writer, and evidently the first book she wrote in English. C [...]


    7. a short book only 185 pages or so. it took about one third of reading to actually want to continue even though Eileen writes in a lyrical style. I imagine writers like musicians, and she always has phrasing that pleases, however it is story that ultimately allows a reader to abandon or continue the adventure.So I plowed along the path of words. Right about the time I started to lose interest was about the time the story got interesting oddly enough. You can tell the author never suffered like lo [...]


    8. This is the first Eileen Chang novel I've read and I really enjoyed her writing style. The story was criticized in China as anti-Commmunist propaganda, but I don't see how famine can be politicized. Even though Chang wrote this book in 1955, three years before the Great Leap Forward, one of China's worst famines, it's like a warning of what was to come. I can't wait to read more of her books, especially those set in Hong Kong and Shanghai before 1949.


    9. A classic novel of the cultural revolution and the great famine in the 1950's and the effect all of this upheaval has on one Chinese peasant family. Well written with excellent characterization but a hurried ending.





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