Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen is a memoir starting off in 1970s Beijing leading up to June 4th, 1989, to the Tiananmen Square massacre. Lai grows up in Beijing with her mother, father & her wise cracking no nonsense grandmother. Lai has a fun group of friends to play with. Early on in her childhood she learns how oppressive the communist government in her country is as a childish prank leads her to the brutal police of the regime. Lai learns about her father and many others who were broken or lost their lives during the Cultural Revolution. We see Lai enter adolescence as she meets the kind elderly man who’s a bookseller who has novels from authors such as Hemingway, Orwell among others that opens her mind. When Lai is at Pekking University she becomes involved with a group of theatrical individualists and misfits and are determined to join the protests to bring change to their country.


Writing, Favorite Passages & Important Lessons

While this is an autobiography, Lai’s words flow like a river to paraphrase Virginia Wolf. My favorite passages in the book were when Lai went to see the bookseller & her reading the books & her time at university leading up to the events of 1989 as well as the actual event. My favorite passage was the what the elderly bookseller told Lai that she eventually told her brother. (I’m only using a partial bit of the quote).


But in the book, because you can’t see the characters directly, you have to imagine them. You help decide how they look and sound in your own head. So, in effect, you help create the characters yourself. That is why a book is interactive—a dialogue between the author and the reader!


The biggest lesson in the book that I think we as Americans & many in the West, take for granted is how we have so many freedoms here that other parts of the world do not have.





Overall, there is so much I want to discuss about the book but I don’t want to spoil it. Preorder Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen, coming out on June 4th of this year. For those who don’t know, June 4th is the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Thank you, Lai Wen, for writing such an important book. I am grateful that I was able to read this important book and I can’t wait to read whatever else you write.