...cannot put the old China together again."" Set in Peking during the first days of Mao's entry into official power, this is a finely wrought, personal, and delicate depiction of what to some is a disaster, to others a deliverance. The author, an American university professor, marries Aimee, the daughter of an ex-justice of the Chinese supreme court, just as the entire order from which springs her dignity and grace is receiving its death blow. Like the crumbling mansion so vital to Buddhist mythology, the palatial home of the Yus quickly succumbs as the various members of Aimee Yu's family go about finding a way of survival within the new order of things. The author, highly suspect as an American and as a member of the aristocratic Yu menage is, himself, subject to scrutiny and even arrest, although with comic rather than dire results. Throughout his ordeal he maintains a perspective on the situation which admits nostalgia, awe, and humor. David Kidd writes with restrained composure. The atmosphere he evokes is strong, exercising a poignant effect on the senses. He is discreet and despite the chain of lamentable events he reveals-- often with humor--one does not feel that a political judgment is being made. Here, rather, is a picture of a world in transition, a world which, under the scrutiny of the author, emerges rich, refreshing and real. Most of this appeared in the New Yorker.