The Old Man of Heron Village

Rated 5.00/5 based on 4 reviews
The short story "The Old Man of Heron of Village" is the poignant tale of simple farmer during China's turbulent Cultural Revolution who finds a chance to express his deep love for the man who is a living Buddha to him - Chairman Mao. However, his efforts lead him into a world beyond his understanding.

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Fiction » Drama » Asian
Words: 8,110
Language: English
ISBN: 9781301053445
About Xiao Qing

Xiao Qing is from China and has a Bachelor of Arts from the prestigious Shanghai Theatre Academy. She has been a filmmaker, the artistic director of an advertising agency in Beijing, and has written and produced musical theatre. She is currently living in the United States with her husband and son, teaching yoga and qigong, and working on her first English language novel.

Reviews

Review by: yinghua jin on May 23, 2013 :
This book tells the story of a hard-working respectful farmer who was prosecuted for a senseless absurd reason beyond our imagination during China’s culture revolution. The old man absolutely worshipped Chairman Mao Zedong and loved him, as millions of people did during that period. However, ironically, his pure love of Chairman Mao brought him unexpected trouble: humiliation, abuses, torture, and death penalty. Although it is impossible to provide a thorough background for such a massive social-political movement of China in this short story, this book helps you to visualize how China’s culture revolution affected ordinary people’s life. This book is essentially the story of one man, however, the author did a good job presenting various people’s completely different mindsets during that period. Overall, this is an interesting book that can spark more interest on the rich history of China’s culture revolution not only for foreigners, but also for native Chinese people.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: yinghua jin on May 23, 2013 :
This book tells the story of a hard-working respectful farmer who was prosecuted for a senseless absurd reason beyond our imagination during China’s culture revolution. The old man absolutely worshipped Chairman Mao Zedong and loved him, as millions of people did during that period. However, ironically, his pure love of Chairman Mao brought him unexpected trouble: humiliation, abuses, torture, and death penalty. Although it is impossible to provide a thorough background for such a massive social-political movement of China in this short story, this book helps you to visualize how China’s culture revolution affected ordinary people’s life. This book is essentially the story of one man, however, the author did a good job presenting various people’s completely different mindsets during that period. Overall, this is an interesting book that can spark more interest on the rich history of China’s culture revolution not only for foreigners, but also for native Chinese people.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Yvonne Bluesky on May 13, 2013 :
The Old Man of Heron Village is truly well written and nicely connected - each word flowing into each moment, the moments flowing into the whole. Old Man is a sad story, but represents how ignorant people actually are in society in a compelling way. The writing created very clear images in my mind and I even felt that everything was going on right in front of me. The suspense of each moment motivates the reader to look, guess at what is going to happen next, and then continue reading.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Lobsang Gyaltso on May 05, 2013 :
After reading this short story I came across one of Jesus' beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount - "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." This teaching of Jesus underscored for me in a powerful way the tragic tale of the Old Man.

Mercy as it's used in the teaching is not about feeling sorry for someone, but having empathy for another person's misfortunes. It's an understanding that we are all in life together and that life is a hard struggle. But mercy requires more than empathy, it requires us to move outside of ourselves and act in a manner that relieves the suffering and hardship of those we are being merciful to.

The Old Man in the story clearly understands mercy. The insight into human (not just Chinese) nature, that the author exposes, is that we, as a society, don't act in a merciful way. More disturbing, it shows us that not only is it easier, and safer, to do nothing, but we take a perverse joy in being able to abandon all thoughts of mercy.

The tragedy for the Old Man is that for all the mercy he'd shown in his life, none was returned to him. The Old Man is gone, but perhaps we can remember him the next time we come across a person in need of support.

Thank you Xiao Qing, I look forward to reading more of your stories.


-Lobsang Gyaltso
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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