Colours of the Mountain, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


A unique modern memoir of growing up in rural China, Colours of the Mountain is a powerful and moving story of supreme determination and extraordinary faith against the most impossible odds.

Da Chen was born in 1962 in a town over 50 hours' train journey from Beijing.

Persecuted because of his family's landlord status, Da was an easy target for the farmer-teachers and bullying peasant boys.

Whilst his older brother and sisters were forced to work in the fields, Da tired of the chaotic schooling of the Cultural Revolution and found solace with a band of good-time thugs.

Following the death of Mao, an academic meritocracy was reintroduced.

Da determined to escape Ch'ing Mountain, where he ran around barefoot and there was no electricity and no future.

Together with his brother Jin, who had been working the land since boyhood, he began to study day and night.

His determination is staggering and inspiring. In 1978, at the age of sixteen, Da Chen took a bus and a train for the first time in his life and travelled to Beijing, to the best English language institute in China. A book about friendships, prejudice, familial love and academic striving, and of one man's escape from hunger, poverty and ignorance, Colours of the Mountain is an inspiring and eloquently recounted memoir.




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Da Chen - you added colour to the grey world of Mao.A memoir giving fascinating insight into the changes in rural China during and after Mao's reign. The story flows well and couples with the aspects of life that appear unique to western readers but were commonplace to tens of millions of Chinese. With new and breathtaking subject matter it is difficult to be objective about the writing. The irresistible rythm seemed to drop off in the last quarter and loses the fifth star from this reviewer.