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Dragonfly Eyes

by Cao Wenxuan

'new gen' - Great Books for Young Adults Family Drama Historical Fiction Star Books

LoveReading View on Dragonfly Eyes

Taking in five decades, three generations and the tender love between a girl and her grandmother, Dragonfly Eyes is an exquisitely-written novel set against a backdrop of unrest and change in 1960s Shanghai. With celebrated Chinese author Cao Wenxuan at the helm, readers are taken on an enthralling journey from a Golden Age in 1920s France, to poverty in post-war Shanghai, to rural Cultural Revolution China, in the beguiling company of Ah Mei and her French grandmother, Nainai.

Joanne Owen

Dragonfly Eyes Synopsis

A family saga spanning fifty years and three generations, which takes the reader from the France of the Golden Age to poverty-stricken post-war Shanghai via the re-imagined rural China of the Cultural Revolution.

Ah-Mei and her French grandmother, Nainai, share a rare bond. Maybe because Ah-Mei is the only girl grandchild, or maybe because the pair look so alike - and because neither look much like the rest of their Chinese family.

Politics and war make 1960s Shanghai a hard place to grow up, especially when racism and bigotry are rife, and everyone is suspicious of Nainai's European heritage. Ah-Mei and her family suffer much in this time of political upheaval, and when the family silk business falters, they are left with almost nothing. But Ah-Mei and her grandmother are resourceful, and they have one another - and the tenderness they share brings them great strength.

Dragonfly Eyes Press Reviews

Featured in The Bookseller's January Previews 2021, - The Bookseller

Cao Wenxuan has a lush, lyrical style which is beautifully translated by Helen Wang (anyone who has read Bronze and Sunflower will know what I mean) and I was lulled by the sweetness of the beginning into thinking that it was really intended for younger readers. But with the 1960s, life gets darker and more complex for Ah-Mei: society disintegrates around the family, Nainai is attacked simply for being foreign, and the story ends with what might be a natural death or might be suicide. Enthralling. -- Nicky Harman - Asian Book Blog

Best suited for confident readers of 11 upwards, this sublime story also comes highly recommended for adults who appreciate elegant writing and tales with a timeless, classic atmosphere. I adored every word. - LoveReading

The story speaks with a strong, true voice that seems both fairytale and real world in the same breath. The writing brings all the texture, nuance and reality of the Chinese cultural revolution and displays how the world around this one family; people they have known for decades get caught up in the harsh, suspicious sentiments of this radical change. Incredibly moving, unsettling and comforting at the same time, this is a novel for us all. Quiet, lyrical and so very powerful. - Fallen Star Stories Blog

Dragonfly Eyes is a charming new novel for young readers - with plenty to offer older ones as well - by Cao Wenxuan. [...] Dragonfly Eyes, like that earlier work, benefits from Wang's ability to capture in a fluid fashion the cadence and lyricism of Cao's gentle prose style. - Times Literary Supplement

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781406378252
Publication date: 07/01/2021
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781406378252
Publication date: 7th January 2021
Author: Cao Wenxuan
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 384 pages
Genres: NewGen - YA Fiction, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Star Books,
Categories: Family & home stories (Children's / Teenage),

About Cao Wenxuan

Cao Wenxuan is one of China's most important children's writers and is widely considered the country's most subtle and philosophical, often referred to as China's very own Hans Christian Andersen - and in fact he was awarded the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2016. He is a professor of Chinese literature at Peking University, and has in turn taught some of China's best young writers. Many of his books have been bestsellers, including Thatched Cottage and Red Gourd, and his work has been translated into French, Russian, Japanese, Korean, German and English. Cao has won several of China's most highly ...

More About Cao Wenxuan

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