The Cooked Seed: A Memoir

The Cooked Seed: A Memoir

Anchee Min

Language: English

Pages: 368

ISBN: 160819423X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In 1994, Anchee Min made her literary debut with a memoir of growing up in China during the violent trauma of the Cultural Revolution. Red Azalea became an international bestseller and propelled her career as a successful, critically acclaimed author. Twenty years later, Min returns to the story of her own life to give us the next chapter, an immigrant story that takes her from the shocking deprivations of her homeland to the sudden bounty of the promised land of America, without language, money, or a clear path.

It is a hard and lonely road. She teaches herself English by watching Sesame Street, keeps herself afloat working five jobs at once, lives in unheated rooms, suffers rape, collapses from exhaustion, marries poorly and divorces.But she also gives birth to her daughter, Lauryann, who will inspire her and finally root her in her new country. Min's eventual successes-her writing career, a daughter at Stanford, a second husband she loves-are remarkable, but it is her struggle throughout toward genuine selfhood that elevates this dramatic, classic immigrant story to something powerfully universal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

returned from the school or work, we took the same bus. He would get off on Thirty-fifth Street and I on Forty-third Street. Besides saying hello, we shared our views, discoveries, and opinions about America, our classes, art, professors, and schoolmates. It was odd to me that Qigu had no intention of applying for a job in a Chinese restaurant. Instead he spent time learning about American art and artists. One day he invited me to visit his friends, who were former artists who had given up their

which cost a dollar for seven packs. Qigu believed that good things would happen if only I relaxed. He pointed out that we had just bought a used Chevrolet for the bargain price of sixty-five dollars. Well, it was not a real purchase. A Christian friend whom Qigu met at a church donated the car to help us in the name of his Lord. But I couldn’t get my mind off the mortgage debt and property tax and utility bills. The day after we bought the property, we discovered that two fat homeless men had

Fortunately, the three-foot-high snow cushioned my fall. For a moment I couldn’t move. “Are you okay?” I heard Qigu’s cry. “Anchee, answer me! Please, are you alive?” I knew I was not dead, because I could still hear the neighbors’ Christmas music, yet I was unable to speak. Qigu came down from his ladder and held me in his arms. Strangely, I felt happy. “How dare you smile!” Qigu yelled in Chinese. His facial expression twisted. “You scared the shit out of me!” I returned to China to

into a nightmare. Qigu and I were not good at working together as a team. I liked to get things done as soon as possible, while Qigu preferred to take his time. It drove me crazy when we installed a tub without a level. Qigu didn’t want to spend the money buying a level. He wanted to wait until we could find a secondhand level at the flea market. I worried that we wouldn’t be able to get the tub in properly. Qigu said, “My eyes can measure with precision. That’s the benefit of being an artist.”

my disappointment and stay positive, I told myself to consider it a blessing that I was able to recognize my shortcomings. It took talent to notice that I lacked talent. I stood on American soil, and there was no reason not to try harder. If nothing came of it, my English would improve. It would help me land a job as an office receptionist. I would get to answer the phone and take messages in English. { Chapter 22 } All my life I had been a soldier whose job was to kill pain. I was

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