Family

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The first half of the 20th century was a period of great turmoil in China, with thousands of years of established civilization being uprooted by a radical socialist revolution.

Family, one of the most popular Chinese novels of that time, vividly reflects that turmoil and serves as a basis for understanding what followed; this accurate English translation is an ideal example of the effectiveness of fiction as a vehicle for translating the experience of one culture to another very different one. Family was written in 1931 as the first part of Pa Chin's (Ba Jin's) trilogy Turbulent Stream, which as been compared to the classic Dream of the Red Chamber for its superb portrayal of the family life and society of its time. Drawn largely from Ba Jin's own experience, Family is the story of the Kao family compound, consisting of four generations plus servants; it's essentially a picture of the conflict between old China and the new tide rising to destroy it, as manifested in the daily lives of the Kao family.