Also, fair warning, this review contains some foul language. We know that seems weird for a book review, but we stand by it anyway. But when I saw the cover of Apologies Forthcoming , it baffled me a bit. Was it meant to be taken at face value? Or is it a Sun Also Rises sort of title, meant to call attention to Mao in its own oblique way? I plunged into the book, eager to find out, but I also contacted Mrs. Eberlein, who had this to say about the subtitle:.
The US edition does not have a subtitle. Mao alone would not have achieved the great calamity of the CR; the whole nation participated with enthusiasm, and one really had to be there to see how sincere and fanatic people were. The stories in Apologies Forthcoming , while perhaps not political, are certainly historical. In her best moments, Eberlein takes massive historical moments and infuses them with personality, emotion, and life. The characters in them are not politicians.
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Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. What does it mean when public figures say sorry?
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Ashraf Rushdy , Wesleyan University. What is a public apology? Televised public celebrity apologies, watched by millions, are a relatively recent phenomenon.
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President Clinton offering an apology at the national prayer breakfast. Scott Applewhite And that is the point of a public apology. The purpose of a public apology I would argue that these celebrity apologies are not much different from those offered over criminal violations in court.
Apologies, in other words, try to control the damage. Private vs. Private apologies are different from public ones. Private apologies are heard, while public apologies are meant to be overheard. Why an apology matters Nonetheless, apologies matter in public life, just as they do in private.
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Community Community standards Republishing guidelines Friends of The Conversation Research and Expert Database Analytics Events Our feeds Donate Company Who we are Our charter Our team Our blog Partners and funders Resource for media Contact us Stay informed and subscribe to our free daily newsletter and get the latest analysis and commentary directly in your inbox. Eberlein has done what we so often forget to do, she has put people into history and let them tell their own stories. These are not stories about Mao. The names may mean nothing to you now, but given a chance, some of them will surely find a place in your heart.
Apologies Forthcoming shines not simply as a fictionalized account of China's recent past, but as a testament to Eberlein's narrative skill in transforming tales of distress about a specific time into universal explorations of loss, betrayal, and hope. But to her credit, she never allows political events to obscure the characters she so compelling — and humanely — depicts.
Deftly and subtly, Eberlein paints pictures that speak, empowering her characters, both male and female, to make their own defenses and apologies. Their lives are as real as any nonfiction, but their tales are unusual this far west. Xujun combines the ability to weave complex short stories with grand themes, filled with interesting characters that the reader wishes wouldn't depart at the end of each story.
The reader will understand from depictions of the places and events and from the rendering of the characters and their conflicted loyalties that this is a writer who knows what she's talking about.
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Whether most Americans will be able to connect to the tales is another question, but for a reader who is at all familiar with or interested in modern China, the book is deeply rewarding. While the setting and details are credible and precise, the language of the stories is occasionally, to my ear, somewhat awkward. And it is that Chineseness—the transport to a time and place that is so unfamiliar to most readers—that makes Apologies Forthcoming a special book. In addition, what I found most fascinating about these stories is that each unfolds like a brainteaser challenging us to figure out what the author wishes to convey, particularly that most of the tales resonate with subtleties and nuances.
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