Told in assured, evocative prose, with impeccably drawn characters, DAUGHTERS OF SHANDONG is a hopeful, powerful story about the resilience of women in war, the enduring love between mothers, daughters and sisters, and the sacrifices made to lift up future generations.
DAUGHTERS OF SHANDONG
by Eve J. Chung
Berkley, Spring 2024
(via Writers House)
Daughters are the Ang’s family curse.
In 1948, the civil war ravages the countryside, but in rural Shandong the wealthy landowning Angs are more concerned with their lack of an heir. Hai is the eldest of four girls and spends her days looking after her baby sisters. Headstrong Di, who is just a year younger, learns to hide in plain sight, and their mother, abused by the family for failing to birth a boy, finds her own small acts of rebellion in the kitchen. As the communist army closes in on their town, the prosperous household flees, leaving behind the girls and their mother because they are useless mouths to feed.
Without an Ang male to punish, the land-seizing cadres choose Hai, as the eldest child, to stand trial for her family’s crimes. She barely survives their brutality. Realizing that worse is yet to come, the women plan their escape. Starving and penniless, but resourceful, they forge their travel permits and embark on a thousand-mile journey to confront the family that abandoned them.
From the countryside to Qingdao, and onward to British Hong Kong and eventually Taiwan, they witness the changing hands of a nation and the plight of multitudes caught in the wake of revolution. But with the loss of their home and the life they’d known also comes a new freedom to take hold of their own fate, to shake free of the bonds of their gender, and to claim their own story.
Eve J. Chung is a Taiwanese American human rights lawyer focusing on gender equality and women’s rights. She lives in New York with her husband, two children, and two dogs.