Supriya Ghosh

A Leaf in the Storm

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Originally published  1941
Preceded by  Moment in Peking
4.1/5 Goodreads

Author  Lin Yutang
A Leaf in the Storm httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumb5
Similar  Lin Yutang books, Other books

A leaf in the storm top 6 facts


A Leaf in the Storm, a Novel of War-Swept China is a 1941 novel by Lin Yutang, in effect a sequel to his Moment in Peking. The novel describes the years of the Second Sino-Japanese War before the American entrance in 1941.

The scene opens in Peking (Beiping) in 1937, on the eve of the war with Japan, when there was fierce debate over China's best strategy. Yao Poya, a wealthy but patriotic businessman, and Lao Peng, who is a Chan Buddhist but angry and actively supporting the guerrilla resistance, are sharing a dinner and chouyin “drinking in sorrow.” They mourn his retreats and military blunders, but Chiang Kai-shek is their hero. They resign themselves to his strategy of wearing down the Japanese Army and forcing them to brutalize and alienate the Chinese people. [5, 13]

In spite of the fact that he is married, Poya is smitten with Malin, a young lady of shadowy background who has been forced to leave Shanghai when she was suspected of being a Japanese collaborator. Lao Peng uses his guerrilla connections to convey her out of Beiping. They watch a political training class for boy and girl students who were “starting life anew as if human civilization had not existed before – except for their flashlights and fountain pens… It was freedom of the human spirit they were seeking, and they found it.” Their instructor, Comrade Peng, works with the Communist Eighth Route Army. Malin and Lao Peng proceed to Wuhan, where the wartime government has set up a temporary capital, and witness Japanese atrocities and heroic Chinese resistance.

Lin gives bravado set pieces of the “greatest migration of people in all history,” [215] and hot, invective against Japanese barbarism:

Men had killed in battles since civilization began… but not until now, when God created man, had human eyes seen laughing soldiers throw a baby into the air and catch it expertly on the point of a sharp bayonet as it fell and call it sport… These things are not possible with normal men.... Not possible with gorillas. [215]

Lao Peng, now aided by Malin, provides food and refuge for the homeless, sick, and abandoned:

So this group of scarred souls war thrown together by the accidents of war… some sick in body and some sick in soul. It was the need of food that brought this strange group together, and there were no other ties than certain common human decencies that enabled each to get along with the others. [236]

References

A Leaf in the Storm Wikipedia


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