"Forbidden City: A Novel" (Encore)
Mei, a teenage girl in 1960s China, becomes Mao Zedong's protégée as well as his lover -- and also a heroine of the Cultural Revolution -- in this captivating historical novel.
(Note: This interview first aired earlier this year.) Our guest is Vanessa Hua, who's a columnist at The San Francisco Chronicle as well as a novelist. She also teaches at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and elsewhere. Hua joins us to talk about her novel, "Forbidden City." Per a starred review of this work in Publishers Weekly: "Hua's provocative latest novel (after 'A River of Stars') follows a bold and shrewd woman as she navigates China's political scene amid the Cultural Revolution.... Hua masterfully presents Mei's attempts to leave the Lake Palaces with their 'power, secrecy, and isolation' behind as she processes her trauma. This [narrative offers] a brilliant new perspective on familiar material via its story of a young woman's brush with power. It's magnificent."