The Cooked Seed traces Anchee Min’s evolution from a woman with shattered self-esteem to one with brass enough to have a child when she wanted, although her Chinese-immigrant partner didn’t, and then to divorce him and find love with an American, a Vietnam veteran. Like him, Min suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and her prose bears the marks. Her book reads like the testimony of a woman who, in coping with haunting memories she’d rather suppress, swings between remembering too much and too little. Therefore, she simply tells it as it happened, in the order it happened, all of it. See my full review of the book in Ms. Magazine’s Spring issue.
The Winter 2011 issue of Nieman Reports, a publication of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, focuses on books and the book industry. It features an essay by me on discovering that, as the German critic Theodor Adorno put it, “in exile, the only house is that of writing.”