With a new Foreword by the author and never-before-seen photographs of the author's family and childhood
This reissuing of acclaimed poet Li-Young Lee's American Book Award-winning memoir tells the harrowing story of the author's early years. In the 1950s, the Lee family was forced to flee China's political turmoil for Indonesia where, in 1957, Li-Young Lee was born. Rather than safe haven, the family, along with many other Chinese members of the population, found themselves persecuted under President Sukarno. Falsely accused and charged for crimes against the state, Li-Young Lee's father spent a year and a half in jail as a political prisoner, half of that time in a leper colony. One stormy night while the entire family was being transported to prison colony, they escaped and began a five-year trek through Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and finally back to Hong Kong where the poet's father rose to prominence as an evangelical preacher. In 1962, they sought asylum in the United States and shortly thereafter emigrated to a small town in western Pennsylvania where Li-Young Lee's father became a minister to an all-white Presbyterian congregation. In finely spun threads of poetic prose, Li-Young Lee carries us through the experiences that informed his four award-winning poetry collections and helped shape the vision of one of America's most celebrated poets.