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‘True stories of bravery:’ CATS presents book reading, signing of Last Boat Out of Shanghai with author Helen Zia

Submitted to The Union
Last Boat Out of Shanghai tells the "true stories of bravery" of those who fled Shanghai after Mao Zedong’s proletarian revolution emerged victorious from the long civil war between the communist party and the nationalist party, led by Chiang Kai-Shek.
Submitted photo

After a two-year postponement due to COVID-19, the Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra is hosting Helen Zia, an acclaimed author from the Bay Area as part of its Cultural Enrichment Program, according to a press release from CATS.

Her book, Last Boat Out of Shanghai, shares “true stories of bravery,” according to the release.

Helen Zia
Submitted photo

“Shanghai has historically been China’s jewel, its richest, and most modern and westernized city,” the release stated. “The bustling metropolis was home to sophisticated intellectuals, entrepreneurs, and a thriving middle class when Mao Zedong’s proletarian revolution emerged victorious from the long civil war between the communist party and the nationalist party, led by Chiang Kai-Shek.”



Terrified of the horrors the Communists would wreak upon their lives, citizens of Shanghai fled in every direction, the release stated.

Over seventy years later, members of the last generation to fully recall this massive exodus have revealed their stories to Chinese American journalist Zia, who interviewed hundreds of exiles about their journey through one of the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century, according to the release.



In Last Boat Out of Shanghai, Zia weaves together the stories of four young Shanghai residents who wrestled with the decision to abandon everything for an uncertain life as refugees in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the United States, the release states.

“The lives of these men and women are marvelously portrayed, revealing the dignity and triumph of personal survival,” according to the release. “Herself the daughter of immigrants from China, Zia is uniquely equipped to explain how crises like the Shanghai transition affect children and their families, students and their futures, and, ultimately, the way we see ourselves and those around us.”

The author will read and discuss segments of her book, as well as sign copies, on Aug. 26. The book will also be available for sale. Tea and cookies will round out the evening, the release stated.

Spaces are limited, according to the release, and a $10 donation is suggested. The event will be held at a private residence in Nevada City, according to the release, the address of which will be provided upon RSVP. Email info@catsweb.org to RSVP and for the address.

Source: Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra

Know & Go

WHAT: CATS presents book reading and signing of Last Boat Out of Shanghai by Helen Zia

WHEN: Friday, Aug. 26, 7 to 9 p.m.

WHERE: Private Residence in Nevada City – Address upon RSVP

PRICE: $10 suggested donation at the door

MORE INFO: Email info@catsweb.org to RSVP and for the address; website: http://catsweb.org/

 


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