About the Book
If I could read classical Chinese, the volumes of genealogy on my desk would recite to me the names of my ancestors, starting with the Tang dynasty poet Zhang Jiuling, and ending thirty-six generations later with my great-grandfather Zhang Paizhen, who squandered a fortune meant to last three generations.
But the actual stories about our family in the small Chinese town of Still Waters came from my father, who grew up hearing tales about our ancestors, whose encounters with ghosts, dragons and immortals were part of our family's identity. Here too are tales of wealth and poverty, ancient and recent ancestors both eminent and profligate, and most heart-rending of all, women imprisoned by the tyranny of home and convention.
After a long family tradition of oral history, it was time to document the stories, lives, and memoirs of the Zhang and Mao families, for our future generations.