Yin Dalong with CK Stuart. 2013. Living and Dying at the Feet of the Snowy Mountains: A Contemporary

Childhood in Rural Hunan, China. Asian Highlands Perspectives 22.


Children in contemporary rural China have experienced an unprecedented moment; amid radical economic and social transformations that have sent their parents to urban centers to earn cash income, children have been left behind to live with older relatives. This fundamental redefining of place, parenting, and living has rarely been written about by the children themselves in English. Set in rural Hunan in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, this novel vividly describes farm production, the shift from an agricultural way of life to a life financially supported by migrant labor earnings, local religious life, Huagu opera, education, complex and violent relationships between family members and villagers, the deaths of the protagonist's (Maomao) mother and paternal grandmother, a wedding, funerals, and local festivals – from the perspective of a child. Refusing to drop out of school and become a migrant worker or a soldier, Maomao eventually achieves his dream of becoming a university student against all odds. This unvarnished and vividly written description of a contemporary rural life in China is uniquely important and appealing to a broad readership.



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