Cover image for The cooked seed : a memoir
The cooked seed : a memoir
Min, Anchee, 1957- , author.
Publication Information:
New York : Bloomsbury, c2013.
Physical Description:
361 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
From Anchee Min, the author of the internationally bestselling memoir "Red Azalea" -- the eagerly awaited sequel, in which she comes to America to find her way, her voice, and her love.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3563.I4614 A3 2013 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
PS3563.I4614 A3 2013 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
PS3563.I4614 A3 2013 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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In 1994, Anchee Min made her literary debut with a memoir of growing up in China during the violent trauma of the Cultural Revolution. Red Azalea became an international bestseller and propelled her career as a successful, critically acclaimed author. Twenty years later, Min returns to the story of her own life to give us the next chapter, an immigrant story that takes her from the shocking deprivations of her homeland to the sudden bounty of the promised land of America, without language, money, or a clear path.

It is a hard and lonely road. She teaches herself English by watching Sesame Street, keeps herself afloat working five jobs at once, lives in unheated rooms, suffers rape, collapses from exhaustion, marries poorly and divorces.But she also gives birth to her daughter, Lauryann, who will inspire her and finally root her in her new country. Min's eventual successes-her writing career, a daughter at Stanford, a second husband she loves-are remarkable, but it is her struggle throughout toward genuine selfhood that elevates this dramatic, classic immigrant story to something powerfully universal.

Author Notes

Anchee Min was born in Shanghai in 1957. At seventeen she was sent to a labor collective, where after a number of years a talent scout recruited her for Madame Mao's Shanghai Film Studio. Her highly acclaimed memoir, "Red Azalea," was named a New York Times Notable Book and was an international bestseller, with rights sold in twenty countries. Min lives in California with her husband and daughter. She will be featured at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2015 program.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Min's first book, Red Azalea (1994), was an electrifying memoir. Six singular novels followed, including Becoming Madame Mao (2000) and Pearl of China (2010). Now Min returns to her own astonishing life story. She writes, as always, with singeing candor and devastating precision as she chronicles the severe poverty and brutality of her childhood in Shanghai, her grim years in a labor camp, and her friendship with the girl who became the actress Joan Chen and helped Min immigrate to the U.S. But Min's ordeal was far from over when she arrived in Chicago to attend art school. With no English and no money, she lived in constant fear of deportation while contending with the shock of American racism, exploitative jobs, wretched living conditions, criminal scams, crushing loneliness, illness, even rape. Her brief marriage turned into a living hell when they naively purchase a dilapidated apartment building. But Min gave birth to her daughter and started writing in English, an extraordinary and resounding creative breakthrough that finally set her free. Min's indomitable and magnificent memoir spans the full spectrum of the human experience, elucidates her noble mission as a writer, and portrays a woman of formidable strength and conviction. I was broken yet standing determinedly erect. I could be crushed, but I would not be conquered. --Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In her excoriating examination of the legacy of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution, novelist Min (Pearl of China, etc.) offers a sharp, moving contrast between American and Chinese attitudes about human worth and dignity. Raised in Shanghai in a hardscrabble family of four children and educated parents who were denounced as "bourgeois," Min was plucked as a teenager from a labor camp in 1974 by Madame Mao's henchmen to appear in propaganda films. Min was thought to have "proletarian looks" (weather-beaten face, muscular body). However, with the swift change in the political wind, Min and her family were publicly shamed and thrown into years of poverty and ill health, sharing one room and a bathroom with 20 neighbors. Min, a hard worker, natural caretaker, and loyal to friends, managed to convince the Art Institute of Chicago that she was an artist and spoke English, though she nearly got deported once she arrived in Chicago at age 27 in 1984 because she spoke no English at all. Her memoir methodically reconstructs those painstaking first years in Chicago, living on a pittance, scrounging for work, amazed at what she considered luxurious dorm living, and guilt-ridden at her inability to rescue her family back home. Along the way, she offers candid observations on American naivete, casual waste, and lack of Chinese stick-to-itness, yet writes poignantly of being treated with decency and warmth, inspiring her to work harder. Watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and reading Jane Eyre helped pave her yellow brick road to literary success, as she delineates captivatingly in this work. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Here Min (Pearl of China) continues her memoir, which began in Red Azalea. Because she had no job prospects in China and was even called Madame Mao's Trash, in 1984 at age 27 Min moved to Chicago to attend college though she knew no English. She describes her struggles with a new culture and language and the constant demands of working several jobs for very low pay just to survive. She describes being raped and nearly strangled to death while sharing a dump with an emotionally disturbed man. She marries a rather lazy artist, has a child with him, and divorces him. Her break comes when the first volume of her memoir is published and her literary career is launched. The latter part of this work discusses her interactions with her daughter and meeting and marrying her second husband, a Vietnam vet. Actress Angela Lin reads this second memoir with interesting accents. VERDICT Recommended for Min fans, memoir fans, and those with an interest in China and the immigrant experience. ["After spending her formative years in a labor collective in Mao's China, Min is unable to see failure as an option for either her or her daughter. Her declarative prose slowly reveals the enduring bravery of an immigrant who refused to dwell on hardship," read the review of the Bloomsbury hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 4/12/13.-Ed.]--David F-aucheux, Louisiana Audio Information & Reading Svc., Lafayette (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.