Daughter of Lucian Pye on the China of Her Mind

The granddaughter of a missionary to China and daughter of the late sinologist Lucian Pye, Virginia Pye has never set foot in China, but that hasn’t deterred her from sharing her vision of the country in the debut novel “River of Dust.” From The New York Times:

Aleksandar Hemon says that “expertise is the enemy of imagination,” and I can’t help but add that imagination, in the end, is our most profound and surprising teacher. It reveals truths we couldn’t otherwise believe.

What I know of China I have inherited from my family who lived there, and also from a white Ming cup, cherry blossom rug and a Little Red Book. These talismans have spoken volumes to me over the years. They helped create a land that inhabited, and even haunted, my imagination. The China of my novel is a dusty, rugged and exotic place that is not exactly on any map. Travelers, scholars and the Chinese themselves must explain the real China. I have tried to create an altogether different country that I hope will provide another landscape for the truth. [Source]

According to The New York Times, Pye plans to visit China in 2014 for the Shanghai Book festival and “perhaps to visit her father’s hometown and her grandfather’s grave.”  Read more about “River of Dust” on Pye’s personal website.

December 30, 2013 6:28 PM
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