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The Palest Ink (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters) Kindle Edition
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When two lost souls find love, their devotion may be the ultimate sacrifice. During China's most chaotic period in history, a revolution creates thousands of innocent victims. Fearful citizens turn against one another and anyone accused of disloyalty to Chairman Mao is at risk of being sentenced to death. When best friends Pony Boy and Benfu get caught in the chaos, they must make heart-wrenching decisions regarding family, friendship, and courage
The Palest Ink depicts the trials of two young men--and the women they love--during the tumultuous years of the Cultural Revolution.
“Bratt brings to life the struggle of two individuals during China’s terrible time that all should know about with an honest, yet compassionate, style. She brings us as close as we ever want to be to an evil time, yet shows some found the courage to preserve their dignity. A must read.” —Mingmei Yip, author of Skeleton Women and other China-inspired novels
“If you enjoy history, revolution, courage, romance, and family, then [The Palest Ink] will make a great work for your library. Kay Bratt has given us a work of intensity.” —Blogcritics.org
“Bratt has done her research and presents the tale of those tumultuous years in a fascinating narrative.” —WanderlustAndChineseInk.com
“The Palest Ink is a beautiful, moving, gripping, mesmerising story of ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances. It is a story of bravery and honor, of love and compassion, as well as growing up and taking chances...The Palest Ink is certainly the best novel I have read about Maoist China; simply superb!” —Fresh Fiction
“A deftly crafted and riveting read from beginning to end, The Palest Ink once again demonstrates author Kay Bratt's extraordinary storytelling talents as a first-class novelist. Very highly recommended.” —Midwest Book Review
“[Recommended] to readers wanting to experience an infamous period of Chinese history, where a single wrong word or action could have disastrous consequences.” —Historical Novel Society
About the Author
Kay Bratt is a child advocate and author of the series Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters and the acclaimed memoir of the years she spent working in Chinese orphanages, Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage. She has actively volunteered for several nonprofit organizations, including An Orphan’s Wish (AOW) and the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for abused and neglected children. In China, she was honored with the Pride of the City award for humanitarian work. After living in China for several years, Bratt now resides in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina with her husband, daughter, dog, and cat.
- ASIN : B00U88YMOO
- Publisher : Lake Union Publishing (October 27, 2015)
- Publication date : October 27, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 877 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 418 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #208,017 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2015
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Top reviews from the United States
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Benfu is a talented violin player who comes from a distinguished family. His mother is constantly monitoring his every move and her demands are almost paranoid in her efforts to preserve and guard the “family honor” and social status they have worked so hard to possess. Benfu is becoming a man and so finds his mother’s efforts to control him unbearable. His only consolation is the time he spends with his best friend, Pony Boy.
Tragedy worsens Pony Boy’s status as a poor young man. When his father becomes ill, Pony Boy must work long, long hours just to allow his family to retain their home and have meager meals to survive. Pony Boy after turning from an ardent Communist realizes Mao is repressing and brutalizing his people during the period when all high status Chinese people are being purged and reeducated. Pony Boy and Benfu plan a publication that will expose all that is wrong with Mao’s plans and actual realities.
Benfu and Pony Boy will fall in love with women they respect, independent, strong-minded women who are willing to testify to the travesties of justice now rampant throughout China. Benfu is sent to escape to the country to escape the Red Guard’s investigations into wealthy families but that country journey is one of working on a collective farm in which self-criticism and judgment by others is a constant threat to life and limb. Pony Boy continues their efforts while Benfu works and suffers. Eventually their reunion will spark a final challenge that is breathtaking in its fierce challenge and involve some other very special characters.
The Palest Ink is a potent, beautiful story about resistance and loyalty to friend, family and foe the reader will find hard to forget. Its insistence that the written word surpasses all memories proves significantly true about this particular, significant historical period. The mission of serving as a witness to history is valuable beyond words and so succeeds beyond expectations. Very nicely crafted, Kay Bratt!
This book is set during the Cultural Revolution in China, when China was in turmoil during Mao's was ruling China. When people lived in fear and uncertainty. Kay incorporated China's rich history into the book, making one really feel how the people felt who were living through this time of unrest. We feel the emotions that the characters feel, we feel their fear, their heartache and sense of loss.
I loved how this book answered questions as to why Benfu became the type of person he is in the series. He and his friend, Pony Boy, best friends from different backgrounds find that common thread that bonds them together. Benfu's family is wealthy, he is growing up with privilege and expectation set by parents, ones he must honor. He knows his parents love him, but outward display of affection are not the norm for his family. Pony Boy's family, on the other hand, is poor but what they don't have with money, they make up in love. Their home is filled with love, respect and affection. Benfu sees the differences and yearns for that relationship with his parents that Pony Boy has with his.
I could go on and on about this book as I loved it. I love Benfu and his amazing spirit and his big heart. I loved reading about him as a teen and young adult as I have felt so connected to his character in this series. Please read this book...and the Scavenger's Daughters series.
Note: I was given an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
Although set in the mid-1960s, the novel should sound a warning to all of us about the danger of political movements that leave no room for alternative views and traditional values. "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely" (Lord Acton). Like Orwell's dystopian novel, 1984, it shows how totalitarian power can break the bonds of love and honor, even as Bratt's work celebrates the heroism of those who resisted, often in vain. Yes, revolutions need to "break some eggs to make an omelet": sadly, those "eggs" are people.
Kay Bratt knows China, and the Chinese, and I loved this as much as I did her earlier CHASING CHINA, a moving novel about the plight of Chinese orphans and the efforts of a Chinese-American girl to get to the truth of her being separated from her birth parents and sent as an adoptee to America.
This prequel will impel me to read more in Bratt's "scavenger's daughter" series. Kudos to her.
Top reviews from other countries
In The Palest Ink, we learned much more of Benfu, the Scavenger's, history, and how he came to be where he ended up, in Wuxi, with his beloved Calli. It also follows the story of his best friend, Pony-Boy, and the ending truly had me in tears...
The horrors that were experienced by some in China during those times, were unknown to me, so it was eye-opening.
Thank you, Kay Bratt, for educating me in an era I had no knowledge of.
The Palest Ink is an amazing story of privilege turning to privation, hardship, hunger and cruelty set in the Mao period of Red Guards and educated people being thrown out of their homes and 're educated' !
it is a very moving story, beautifully told and written in Kay Bratt's inimitable style. It certainly rates 5 stars +...