“Big River, Big Sea — Untold Stories of 1949 (大江大海)” is the latest book by author Lung Yingtai (龍應台). It details the stories of families who were broken apart in 1949 when the Communist Party took control of China and 2 million people fled to Taiwan. “大江大海” is currently a bestseller in Taiwan and Hong Kong, but has yet to find an English-language publisher, and Internet discussion of it has been banned in China.
The New York Times article just profiled “Big River, Big Sea” and its author. The opening anecdote is heartbreaking. A lot of my Taiwanese American friends with parents or grandparents from China have similar stories in their family histories, but I don’t think the fact that these separations and tragedies were commonplace makes any one of them less poignant or painful to contemplate. I hope that the book is published in English soon. The New York Times article didn’t state if Lung is having trouble finding an English-language publisher, so I’m not sure how long it’ll take… but hopefully not too long. Otherwise, I might just have to break out my Besta and slowly, slowly read the Chinese version.