Cape Cod Writers Center

Marsha M. Finley

Author Marsha Finley.

I have finished the penultimate draft of the memoir of my “Chinese mother.” The tentative title is:

The General’s Daughter:
One woman’s story of survival in 20th Century China

Set against the backdrop the 1989 democracy demonstrations in China, The General’s Daughter is the riches-to-rags memoir of Eileen Kan. Told in her own words, this searing tale relates how she used her wits and fierce pragmatism to survive wars, revolution, and the horrors of the Mao years.

Eileen dictated her story to me while I was teaching in China in 1989, as China was nervously emerging from the Mao era and trembling on the verge of explosive change. To help Western readers understand some of the unique features of Chinese life and culture, her narrative is juxtaposed with my brief accounts of living and working in China–especially the build-up and aftermath of the democracy demonstrations that convulsed China as we recorded Eileen’s story.