A LITTLE TIGER IN THE CHINESE NIGHT by Song Nan Zhang

A LITTLE TIGER IN THE CHINESE NIGHT

An Autobiography in Art
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 1835 - 1990
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An artist (b. 1942) who did his best to remain a loyal Chinese citizen through the Cultural Revolution--but finally escaped to Canada in 1989--now shares his story. Zhang's straightforward narrative, powerful in its honesty, is much enriched by his detailed art. The title refers to his early memory of seeing a tiger (a lucky omen) when he and his mother were ``hiding out in...the Bao-wu mountains because the Japanese had occupied Shanghai.'' Zhang's father, a Communist official early on, was later declared suspect and his family was forcibly scattered. Meanwhile, the boy's talent was recognized and he received an art education, but the regime's demands left him little time to paint. Selling four paintings to an American enabled him to go to Canada, where, in the aftermath of Tiananmen Square, he received sanctuary and his wife and sons were able to join him. Zhang's fascinating account of his grueling experiences, in many ways representative of his generation even though he was also particularly ``lucky,'' is much enhanced by his paintings and sketches. In classic Communist style, they're cheerfully realistic: though he describes many hardships, his figures are almost always smiling and well-fed, but they also have an energy and subtlety of expression that explain his privileged position as an artist. Unusually immediate and authentic. Historical chronology (1835-1990). (Nonfiction. 9+)

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 1993
ISBN: 0-88776-320-0
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Tundra
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1993