Our Story: A Memoir of Love and Life in China (Hardcover)
This gentle memoir extends from 1921 to 2008, and examines two lives, Rao Pingru and his wife Meitang, during this time. It's told simply and, as it develops, with the addition of Rao's small and charming illustrations. The story is extensive covering China's history and the book itself a work of art.— From Ann
Begun by the author when he was eighty-seven years old and mourning the loss of his wife, Our Story is a graphic memoir like no other: a celebration of a marriage that spanned the twentieth century in China, told in vibrant, original paintings and prose.
Rao Pingru was twenty-four-year-old soldier when he was reintroduced to Mao Meitang, a girl he’d known in childhood and now the woman his father had arranged for him to marry. One glimpse of her through a window as she put on lipstick was enough to capture Pingru’s heart: a moment that sparked a union that would last almost sixty years.
Our Story is Pingru and Meitang’s epic but unassuming romance. It follows the couple through the decades, in both poverty and good fortune—looking for work, opening a restaurant, moving cities, mending shoes, raising their children, and being separated for seventeen years by the government when Pingru is sent to a labor camp. As the pair ages, China undergoes extraordinary growth, political turmoil, and cultural change. When Meitang passes away in 2008, Pingru memorializes his wife and their relationship the only way he knows how: through painting. In an outpouring of love and grief, he puts it all on paper. Spanning 1922 through 2008, Our Story is a tales of enduring love and simple values that is at once tragic and inspiring: an old-fashioned story that unfolds in a nation undergoing cataclysmic change.
(With gorgeous full-color illustrations throughout, and a distinctive exposed spine emulating the original Chinese design.)
About the Author
RAO PINGRU was born in 1922. He lives in Shanghai, China.
Translated from the Chinese by Nicky Harman.
“A vivid, at times intimate, portrait of a changing China.”
—The Christian Science Monitor, “10 Best Books of May”
“Pingru’s intimate, illustrated memoir of a life shared with his wife, Meitang, offers a touching portrait of marriage. The story is driven by rich memories of everyday life. . .paired with Pingru’s expressive ink drawings. . . . Our Story makes a compelling case for love’s power.”
“Using spare prose and stunning, full-color illustrations, Pingru reveals his struggles, joys, and enduring love for his wife over the course of their lives in a dramatically changing China. . . . Pingru’s exquisite, visually dazzling memoir reveals an ordinary life lived in extraordinary times.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Pingru, [at age] 95, makes his literary debut with a charming memoir illustrated with his own evocative watercolors . . . . A graceful, gently told narrative of contentment and resilience.”