THE CHINA YEAR by Emily Cheney Neville


Age Range: 10 - 14
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 A Newbery winner's disappointing latest, set in pre- Tienanmen Square China. When her professor father takes a job as a ``foreign expert'' in Beijing, Henrietta (``Henri'') Rich and her artist mother travel with him from their New York City home. Henri is afraid that there will be no one her age; initially, she's right: since she studies at home, most of her contacts are through her parents or a six-year-old neighbor. Eventually, however, she meets Minyuan; though him she is introduced to the differences between their cultures and the complexities of a first emotional attachment. Mrs. Rich's sudden illness sends the family home; Henri fears that she'll never see Minyuan again. There is some virtue here in Neville's portrayal of China as Henri sees it and of the difficulties in understanding another culture, but it is thoroughly undermined by the flat narrative and stilted characterization--including a self-absorbed, unbelievably ignorant heroine who doesn't even recognize Gorbachev's name when she hears it. Except for the atmosphere, a miss. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 15th, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-024383-X
Page count: 245pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1991