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Peking Story

A haunting and delicately observed description of the last days of Mandarin culture before the revolution, "Peking Story" is a testimony to a way of life, a culture, an aesthetic and a civilisation which has since completely disappeared. As the American son-in-law of a revered official from an ancient Chinese family, David Kidd had unqiue access to the life - their sprawling mansion, the visits to ancestral temples, the moonlit picnics, demure servants, opulent ceremonies, lavish entertainments and cherished antique heirlooms, such as the set of braziers which had never lost the heat of their original founding due to the meticulous care of successive generations of owners. But it is the brooding sense of the inevitability of great change, and Kidd's sympathy with many of the goals of the revolution, which transforms this memoir into something tragically profound.
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"Peking Story is a poignantly written requiem for Old Peking--the city whose death is symbolic of the death of China's ancient culture and civilization." "Kidd's story wavers between fact and fiction. It seems too good to be true, like the perfectly woven family sagas common to the great Chinese novels and Victorian fiction. But the climax . . . is firmly written in fact: the crumbling of an empire 4,000 years old."

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