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Chinese-American novelist explores life by the side of Chairman Mao

It can be hard to understand the motivations behind some of the major campaigns of China under Mao Zedong.

The Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution were meant to propel the country and its people into modernity and prosperity, but the effects mostly went in the opposite direction.

China will not share many details, even today, but Vanessa Hua goes there in a work of fiction, The Forbidden City.

Hua, a best-selling author and columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, tells the story of a young woman who gets close to Mao--in every sense--on the eve of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s.

The author puts her expertise on the Chinese Diaspora into the book, and shares details in an interview on the JX.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.