Inconvenient Memories is a rare and truthful memoir of a young woman’s coming of age amid the Tiananmen Protests of 1989.
In 1989, Anna Wang was one of a lucky few who worked for a Japanese company, Canon. She traveled each day between her grandmother’s dilapidated commune-style apartment and an extravagant office just steps from Tiananmen Square. Her daily commute on Beijing’s impossibly crowded buses brought into view the full spectrum of China’s economic and social inequalities during the economic transition.
When Tiananmen Protests broke out, her Japanese boss was concerned whether the protests would obstruct Canon’s assembly plant in China, and she was sent to Tiananmen Square on a daily basis to take photos for her boss to analyze for evidence of turning tides. From the perspective as a member of the emerging middle class, she observed firsthand that Tiananmen Protests stemmed from Chinese people’s longing for political freedom and their fear for the nascent market economy, an observation that readers have never come across from the various accounts of the historical events so far.
This is as close as you’ll get to the feeling of being in the middle of the historic Tiananmen Square protest and subsequent crackdown. Wang’s memories may be “inconvenient,” as the title of the book suggests, but they are a virtual history lesson at ground zero and a shattering reminder of this historic event. This is a gripping and moving memoir that will change forever the way you perceive life in China and, specifically, the Tiananmen Square Massacre. – John J. Kelly
This is a story about immigration at its deepest core and the hard decisions that come with leaving one’s home country, as well as the strength and determination of the human spirit. Written with a daring honesty that would ban this book from publication in China, Wang succeeds in giving us a novel that is hard to put down. This is a powerful and deeply personal story of China, human rights, and the progression of a people.
– Pam G.
Too few understand the Chinese culture and transition from empire to the present despite the many novels and films that paint the eloquent glory of the past with the now powerful presence of the present as depicted in the spectrum that includes ‘The Last Emperor’ through ‘Crazy Rich Asians’. Anna brings insight to the various changes in her birth country China from an insider’s stance. And the result is riveting. Not only is this book extraordinarily entertaining and well written, it is likely to become a significant source of China’s history and development as personally witnessed by an insightful participant. Highly Recommended on many levels. – Grady Harp