MY HOUSE HAS MANY DOORS by Han Suyin

MY HOUSE HAS MANY DOORS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Han Suyin--a celebrity-writer since Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (1952), a friend-of-China since the Revolution--now combines her absorption with her writing career (""my daemon"") and her ""obsession with China"" in one fat, self-commemorating volume. It begins with the torrid romance chronicled in. . . Many Splendored Thing, and progresses through the annual visits to China, the long residence in Malaya, the various Asiatic travels, and the meetings with the great which were reflected, if not precisely recorded, in her many earlier books. Then, what she had to say (about Malaysian politics or the Sino-Soviet border conflict) was news of a sort; now, we are expected to be engrossed in the spectacle of Han Suyin herself--made physically ill, in 1960, by ""the spectre of want"" in China; ""reviled as a 'Red' and a 'Maoist'""; debating, expostulating, remaining pregnantly silent (""We sat, Nehru and I, and had nothing really to say to one another""). The personal details (marriage to doting, unloved Leonard; link-up with devoted South-Indian Vincent; ups and downs--mostly the latter--with adopted daughter Yungmei) are uninvolving--save only for Hah Suyin's acknowledged discomfiture at being unable, as a writer, to conceive living in regimented China. And the most interesting aspect of her regular visits consists of her constant attempts to understand--and thereby justify--the successive turns of the past 30 years contrasted with the fearfulness of her friends and family that, in each instance, one of them would somehow fall afoul of the new line. At the last, granted an audience by Chairman Hua, she sees herself ""integrated in China's rebirth. . . and everything I have done has acquired meaning, is a minute stitch in that great tapestry of living and doing wrought by the millions of China."" Taxing.

Pub Date: June 16th, 1980
Publisher: Putnam