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Forbidden Love in Two Acts

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Title: to Love or Not to Love - Forbidden Love in Two Acts 

Author: Yun Butler

Genre: Memoir

Comparable: Son of the Revolution – Heng and Shapiro

                        Red Azalea – Min


Hook Line: Forbidden loves amid the tumult of Maoist China and its aftermath.




My family and I are living on the beautiful Peking University campus in the mid-1950s. Our future seems bright.


But when China is rocked by a succession of societal upheavals that culminate in the death and destruction of the Cultural Revolution, everything crumbles. Early on, father is caught in a political trap and is largely absent from our lives. As my family falters, mother struggles to keep us afloat. Despite our travails, I become a fervent believer in Chairman Mao.


Worn down by the pressure, mother seeks solace in the arms of a much younger lover. She tricks father into a divorce and marries her lover, a culturally forbidden relationship that tears the family apart.  I struggle to navigate through our disintegrating family and a society gone mad. Personal betrayals by those wanting to burnish their Maoist credentials end my revolutionary dreams. I move from a true believer to a free thinker. Still, my future looks bleak.


Hope is injected into my life with the death of Chairman Mao. Although I was not allowed to attend high school, I pass the entrance exam and enter college. Despite a government ban on relationships with foreigners, I fall in love with one of the first American students in China.  I feel great joy but worry - what will happen if I’m caught? 

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