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Publisher's Summary

Winner of 26 book awards, including the 2019 Rubery Award for Book of the Year

Audiobook narrated by two-time Asian American Film Lab best actress winner Rachel Yong and authors Isabel Sun Chao and Claire Chao.

“Jaw-dropping, exciting, touching, tragic and insightful.” (Historic Shanghai)

True stories of glamor, drama, and tragedy told through five generations of a Shanghai family, from the last days of imperial rule to the Cultural Revolution

A high position bestowed by China’s empress dowager grants power and wealth to the Sun family. For Isabel, growing up in glamorous 1930s and ’40s Shanghai, it is a life of utmost privilege. But while her scholar father and fashionable mother shelter her from civil war and Japanese occupation, they cannot shield the family forever.

When Mao comes to power, 18-year-old Isabel journeys to Hong Kong, not realizing that she will make it her home - and that she will never see her father again. Meanwhile, the family she has left behind struggles to survive, only to have their world shattered by the Cultural Revolution. Isabel returns to Shanghai 50 years later with her daughter, Claire, to confront their family’s past - one they discover is filled with love and betrayal, kidnappers and concubines, glittering pleasure palaces and underworld crime bosses. 

Meticulously researched, Remembering Shanghai follows five generations, from vibrant Shanghai to the bright lights of Hong Kong. By turns harrowing and heartwarming, this vivid memoir explores identity and loss against the epic backdrop of a country in turmoil.

rememberingshanghai.com

©2018 Claire Chao/Plum Brook, LLC (P)2020 Claire Chao/Plum Brook, LLC

Critic Reviews

"A volume that demands to be held." (Los Angeles Review of Books)

“An engaging and entertaining saga.” (South China Morning Post)

What listeners say about Remembering Shanghai

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

touching stories of resilience and family

moving stories from a tragic time, fate of family and country intertwined. the upbeat nature of the stories makes the tragedies inspiring while at the same time being heavy. wish China can remember her past and strive to give humanity to everyone

2 people found this helpful

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Like a flowering vine, it sends out blossoms unexpectedly

This memoir is remarkably moving as it astutely weaves the story of an old and sometimes disreputable family, and how the sins of each generation create crucibles of learning for the subsequent generation. The authors deftly interlaced m
sentiment and irony, horror and wonder as Shanghai goes through its convulsive changes. Highly recommended.

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Beautiful and personal

A beautiful and person insight into a family who teach us so much about the trials of China. I felt so sad when it ended - like I will miss them all. The narrator makes it lively and fun - a joy to listen to. Thank you

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  • Mark Henwood
  • 12-31-21

Emotional Family Story

I lived in Shanghai for more than 7 years and even many years later it is still my home. This book brought humanity to the history of the past century in Shanghai by sharing personal family stories. I enjoyed it more because in my mind I was walking into the old house with the authors (as I did countless times photographing old Shanghai). Thank you for sharing.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-08-21

Unbelievably gripping story

I was hooked from the first chapter, really paints a picture of Shanghai and her family