Deep in the Mountains: An Encounter with Zhu Qizhan
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Deep in the Mountains: An Encounter with Zhu Qizhan

by Terrence Cheng
     
 
A haunting story about growing up and accepting life's challenges—and its joys

The great Chinese artist Zhu Qizhan was born in 1892 and lived to be 105 years old. During his life, he witnessed the Boxer Rebellion, the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists, the Sino-Japanese War, Japan's occupation of China during

Overview

A haunting story about growing up and accepting life's challenges—and its joys

The great Chinese artist Zhu Qizhan was born in 1892 and lived to be 105 years old. During his life, he witnessed the Boxer Rebellion, the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists, the Sino-Japanese War, Japan's occupation of China during World War II, the Cultural Revolution...a full lifetime indeed, packed with struggle, love, conflict, and always, art. In 1992, when Deep in the Mountains begins, Zhu, the teller of tales, is 100 years old, still pushing himself to create, still experimenting with form and color. A lonely boy from the other side of the earth enters Zhu's world. Through the artist's stories of the past, the present, and the future, the boy learns who he is and what he can become in this beautiful, haunting story of growing up and accepting life's challenges—and its joys.

• Multicultural appeal, features renowned Chinese artist Zhu Qizhan

• Moving story of connection across the generations by critically acclaimed author

• Blends China's history in the 20th century with a compelling modern-day tale

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Miriam Gottschalk
Tony Chung is a fictional, overweight, artistic, intelligent, fifteen-year-old Chinese misfit who wants to revive graffiti. When he experiences social humiliation at the hands of one of his teachers and a school bully, he reacts by making his mark inappropriately and expensively. In response, Tony's parents craft a plan to redirect his energies. They send him to Shanghai, entrusting him to the care of his maternal uncle, a restaurateur. Since Tony is on the lazy side, he does not look forward to the trip. In Shanghai, he will have to work in his uncle's restaurant in order to earn the money to pay for his vandalism. Tony has never been to China, although he is relatively fluent in Chinese. Plunked down in bustling Shanghai in the summer of 1992, Tony must rise to his uncle's expectations, including daily exercise at 6 a.m., long days of hard work in the restaurant, and a calorie-restricted diet. His life takes a dramatic turn for the better when his uncle introduces him to Zhu Qizhan, a 100-year-old revered and real-life master painter from Shanghai. Zhu teaches Tony the ancient techniques of Chinese painting. But the lessons extend beyond visual art to the art of life: "Do what you do for the joy and satisfaction it brings you. Everything else will take care of itself." Cheng's characters are believably real, demonstrating growth and change. He intersperses fact with fiction, promoting a desire to learn more about the artist and the art form. An excellent read aloud, this book will dovetail nicely with the 2009 summer reading program arts theme. Reviewer: Miriam Gottschalk
KLIATT - Janis Flint-Ferguson
In this entry in the Art Encounters series, Terrence Cheng takes his readers inside the life of artist Zhu Qixhan, who died at the age of 105 in 1996. This novel brings sometime-graffiti artist and fulltime high school student Tony to Shanghai, China in 1992. Tony is an A student whose only real interest is the graffiti art he does in class notebooks. After being teased one time too many and humiliated by a teacher, Tony uses his paint cans to vandalize the teacher's car and the school hallway. His parents, who run a local restaurant, are humiliated and send Tony to live with his uncle in China for the summer. Tony's uncle owns a profitable restaurant in Shanghai and there Tony will work to repay his parents for the damage, and perhaps learn to appreciate his Chinese heritage. His uncle introduces Tony to Master Zhu who is already 101 years old. The art master understands Tony in ways Tony's uncle doesn't seem to see. For his uncle, life is only the restaurant. As the summer goes on, Tony spends many afternoons with Master Zhu, hears the story of the Cultural Revolution, and learns to value Chinese art. The storyline may be a familiar one, but the Chinese setting and culture add depth and historical value to Tony's coming of age. Master Zhu is a wise man who has lived through much political upheaval and still can find serenity in nature and art. His story emphasizes the survival of human character and the healing spirit of art.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780823004232
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/2007
Series:
Art Encounters Series
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.78(w) x 8.72(h) x 0.79(d)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Terrence Cheng's first novel, Sons of Heaven, was universally critically acclaimed. Publishers Weekly said it is "a rare find: historical and political without being pedantic, and briskly entertaining without being cheap, simplistic, or contrived," while Library Journal called it "a ripping good story." Cheng was a James Michener Fellow at the University of Miami, where he earned his MFA. He lives in New York City.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New York, New York
Date of Birth:
March 27, 1972
Place of Birth:
Taipei, Taiwan
Education:
B.A., Binghamton University, 1994; M.F.A., University of Miami, 1997
Website:
http://www.sonsofheaven.com

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