Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Under the Hawthorn Tree

Under the Hawthorn Tree
Author: Ai Mi
Source: Another random Chapters buy
Days to Read: 6 days 

Before starting this book I asked my coworker about it because as I read in the novel, the original book was discovered on a blog, was published, and was a huge success in China. The book was translated into English and has been made into a feature film. Ai Mi is an alias as the real author is unknown. My coworker had not read the book but had heard of the film and the story. 

I was immediately drawn into this book. I love a good romance, especially one that occurs in a different culture or time period. This book was so different from any I had read in that the innocence of the young girl Jingqiu was very extreme. The story takes place during China's Cultural Revolution (socialism was being enforced across the country). Jingqiu is sent to the country along with several other students to interview the villagers and write a textbook. While living in the village, Jingqiu falls in love with Old Third, an army general's son. Jingqiu comes from a family that has been disgraced as her father was branded a Capitalist so the relationship would never work. However the two find time to meet and spend time with each other. In a stark contrast to todays societal norms, Jingqiu is naive and cautious in her courtship with Old Third. She is also conflicted between her love and personal desires and the political climate at the time. Falling in love and marrying for love were not for the greater good and were considered selfish. 

The story is a typical love story but the complexities of the culture provides the reader with a a new perspective. You can't help but adore Jingqiu and the other characters in this novel.

I highly recommend it! 

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