I was born in 1960 on Taiwan the island of my father’s exile. War, Communism and the resulting famine had driven Baba from his native Manchuria, in the northeast reaches of China. Later we moved to California via Japan. Baba named me Xuan. It means “Forget Sorrow.”
This beautiful graphic novel is part memoir and part history as it spans several generations in Yang’s father’s family. In this book her ancestors face war, famine, and communist oppression in Manchuria. The stories of their successes and failures as well as their shifting family dynamics are captivating. And because these stories are recounted to Yang by her father, it means pieces from Yang’s own life are interwoven into the story. Her personal history hiding from an abusive ex-boyfriend stalker and working toward reconciliation with her father in contemporary America add another layer to the narrative. All of this complexity is captured by Yang’s gorgeous black-ink drawings which are evocative of the places and her character’s emotions. I read this book as slowly as possible fearing every time I picked it up that I would finish it and not have it to read the next day. It was wonderful and I highly recommend Forget Sorrow to fans of graphic memoirs.
Check the BPL catalog for this title: Forget Sorrow