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City Gate, Open Up

A Memoir

Bei Dao

Translated by Jeffrey Yang

City Gate Open Up Cover
RRP: GBP£ 10.39
Available This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
eBook (PDF)
ISBN: 978 1 784104 65 8
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Black and Asian, Memoirs, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: April 2017
320 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), Paperback, eBook (EPUB)
  • Description
  • Author
  • Reviews
  • City Gate, Open Up is the lyrical autobiography of China's a memoir legendary poet Bei Dao. Exiled from Beijing in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Bei Dao returned to his homeland in 2001 for the first time in over twenty years. The city of his youth had vanished: ‘I was a foreigner in my hometown,’ he writes. The shock of this experience released a flood of memories and emotions contained in City Gate, Open Up.

    The poet recalls the Beijing of his youth, from the birth of the People’s Republic, through the chaotic years of the Great Leap Forward, and on into the Cultural Revolution. At the centre of the book are his parents and siblings and their everyday life together through famine and festival. Bei Dao’s autobiography is a memory palace of endless alleyways and corridors, where personal narrative mixes with the momentous history he lived through.

    Bei Dao
    Bei Dao (the pseudonym means ‘north island’) was born in Beijing in 1949. Educated into the beliefs of Communist China, his subsequent disaffection found its voice in poetry, for which he has been nominated for the Nobel Prize on several occasions. Since 1989 he has lived first in Europe, then in ... read more
    'The language of Bei Dao's memoir, seamlessly translated by fellow poet Yang, is elegantly simple and guilelessly accessible....Winter white cabbage, vinyl records, pet rabbits, banned books, and first and last 'I love yous'€ provide intimate glimpses that 'open up'€ to reveal extraordinary, immediate testimony of challenges survived in a life intensely lived.'
    Booklist of City Gate, Open Up (US edition, published by New Directions)
       'This is a nuanced account of China in the era of the Cultural Revolution, seen through one young man'€s eyes. Since that young man became a poet, it is also beautifully textured, full of the sounds, sights, and scents of a Beijing that is no more.'
    Publishers Weekly of City Gate, Open Up (US edition, published by New Directions)
    Praise for Bei Dao 'The language of Bei Dao's memoir, seamlessly translated by fellow poet Yang, is elegantly simple and guilelessly accessible....Winter white cabbage, vinyl records, pet rabbits, banned books, and first and last 'I love yous'€ provide intimate glimpses that 'open up'€ to reveal extraordinary, immediate testimony of challenges survived in a life intensely lived.'
    Booklist of City Gate, Open Up (US edition, published by New Directions)
       'This is a nuanced account of China in the era of the Cultural Revolution, seen through one young man'€s eyes. Since that young man became a poet, it is also beautifully textured, full of the sounds, sights, and scents of a Beijing that is no more.'
    Publishers Weekly of City Gate, Open Up (US edition, published by New Directions)
    'One of the great poets of our time.'
    Michael Hofmann

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