Middle Heart, The

Overview

"TRULY MOVING  . . . BETTE BAO LORD IS AT HER STRONGEST."
--The Boston Globe

In 1932, as China shamefully kowtows under Japanese occupation, three unlikely companions are fatefully bound by their steadfast patriotism: Steel Hope, heir to a once-great aristocracy; Mountain Pine, his crippled, scholarly servant; and Firecrackers, a poor gravekeeper's daughter. In a youthful pact, they call themselves "Brothers of the Middle Heart," vowing to defend their country to the ...

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Overview

"TRULY MOVING  . . . BETTE BAO LORD IS AT HER STRONGEST."
--The Boston Globe

In 1932, as China shamefully kowtows under Japanese occupation, three unlikely companions are fatefully bound by their steadfast patriotism: Steel Hope, heir to a once-great aristocracy; Mountain Pine, his crippled, scholarly servant; and Firecrackers, a poor gravekeeper's daughter. In a youthful pact, they call themselves "Brothers of the Middle Heart," vowing to defend their country to the end.

Yet as war and, later, the Communist Revolution ignite, cruel circumstances separate them. One becomes a political leader, one a writer, one an actress. But despite incessant historical upheaval, their lives continue to intertwine in poignant, often tragic, ways. Enmeshed in a love triangle, they will live to see their loyalty to one another tested again and again.

Through these three richly drawn characters, Bette Bao Lord re-creates the stirring drama of twentieth-century China. In vivid, haunting prose she evokes the outrages that marred fifty years of the Chinese people's existence--and illuminates the remarkable resilience that defines them to this day.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Three unlikely companions find their bond tested throughout 50 cataclysmic years of war and upheaval in modern China. (July)
School Library Journal
YASteel Hope, second son of the once-powerful House of Li; Mountain Pine, his crippled servant and `"bookmate"; and Firecrackers, a gravekeeper's daughter who disguises herself as a boy, form an unlikely friendship during the years of turmoil in China of the 1930s. Their paths diverge as China descends into chaos and war. Firecrackers becomes Summer Wishes, an opera singer who learns to hide her fears and perform with bombs falling close by; Steel Hope is an engineer and bureaucrat who joins the communist underground to fight the Japanese and puts loyalty to the revolution above all else; Mountain Pine becomes a writer and a hermit, but learns he can't run away from his feelings. War, revolution, the vagaries of Communist rule, and family loyalties test the friendship of the three, and their final reunion is bittersweet. Lord brings her knowledge of China and her gift of storytelling to this tale of friendship and love set against the backdrop of modern history. YAs will glimpse a different culture and enjoy a gripping story of the triumph of the human spirit.Molly Connally, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA
From Barnes & Noble
From the acclaimed author of Spring Moon comes this dramatic, sweeping, richly emotional story of two men and a woman who are intricately bound to one another and to the cataclysmic events that have shaped modern China. Of different backgrounds and stations in life, they form a passionate alliance to defend their country and save their people.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449912324
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/14/1997
  • Edition description: REISSUE
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 1,024,856
  • Lexile: 1040L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Bette Bao Lord was born in Shanghai in 1938. She emigrated to America with her parents during China's Civil War; they settled in Brooklyn, where she grew up. She attended Tufts University and received an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, where she met her husband, Winston Lord, who was the American Ambassador to China from November 1985 through April 1989.

Bette Bao Lord has received a number of awards, including honorary doctorates from Tufts and Notre Dame, and in 1989 was named a "woman of the year" (along with Simone Weil) by the International Women's Forum (other honorees include Margaret Thatcher and Corazon Aquino). She is currently the chair of the Freedom Foundation in Washington, D.C.

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