The Secret Piano

  • by Zhu Xiao-Mei
  • Narrated by Nancy Wu
  • 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Zhu Xiao-Mei was three years old when she saw her first piano, a cherished instrument introduced into her family's Beijing home by her mother. Soon after, the child began to play, developing quickly into a prodigy who immersed herself in the work of such classical masters as Bach and Brahms. Her astonishing proficiency earned her a spot at the Beijing Conservatory at the tender age of 11, where she began laying the foundation for a promising career as a concert pianist. But in 1966, with the onset of the Cultural Revolution, life as she knew it ended abruptly.
The Communist Party's campaign against culture forced the closure of art schools and resulted in the deportation of countless Chinese, including Xiao-Mei and her entire family. She spent five years in a work camp in Inner Mongolia, suffering under abysmal living conditions and a brutal brainwashing campaign. Yet through it all, Xiao-Mei kept her dream alive, drawing on the power of music to sustain her courage.

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Customer Reviews

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A remarkable woman

This is a memoir of life in China during Mao's reforms and afterwards as Xiao-Mei tries to pick up the rest of her life. I found it fascinating and yet it wasn't overly sentimental. We first meet the author as a child wanting to study music. Slowly we witness the indoctrination of her mind with the beliefs of the time and see choice taken away from her. I think it's hard for a modern reader to truly understand what restrictions were in place during that period, and this memoir brings that to life. It is nice that it follows the story after the cultural revolution so we see how Xiao-Mei's experience affected her. Interesting and inspirational.
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- Suzy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-03-2012
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio