ABOUT LOOKING EAST
In 1912 Guangxi Provence, nine year old Guoshi Mo experienced two life altering events: his pigtail was chopped off and subsequently he was betrothed to a little girl his own age simply named, Sister 13. Guoshi, an exemplary student, was dead set against this type of arrangement and would spend most of his life fighting to right the wrongs of feudalism and corruption. Changing his name from Guoshi Mo to James Mo, he sailed from Shanghai to New York City in 1920 to work for the American Communist Party.
He met and fell in love with Celia Edelson, a Young Pioneer from the communist youth division. Considered an agitator by The New York Times, Comrade James Mo was on the FBI list of suspicious individuals and was spirited out of New York to the Soviet Union, leaving behind his beloved Celia. Within one year she would join him in Moscow to live at the infamous Lux, the hotel that housed German, Russian and Chinese exiles.
In 1933 Celia became pregnant and was sent back to the United States by the Communist Party while James continued his studies at the Lenin Institute in Moscow. In April 1934 Celia's baby is born in Cleveland Ohio. That same year Celia hears rumblings of James affair with a Ukrainian woman he met in Moscow. Celia, resentful and bitter, cuts off communication with the father of her child.
Comrade James Mo marries, has a son and is subsequently arrested and imprisoned at two Moscow prisons, Lubianka, prison of death and Butyrka prison for deceiving the Party and lying about being born into a landowning family of intellectuals. One hundred prisoners, including James, were escorted by train to a labor camp in the Siberian tundra where he would remain for eighteen years, felling trees, making bricks and patrolling an oil pipeline.
Never having met his American daughter, Victoria, he would search for her for a dozen years upon his release from the Siberian Gulag.
I recevied a complimentary copy.
About the Author
When Jacqueline Dreager began writing a memoir about her nine years as a sculptor in a studio on Los Angeles Skid Row, saving dogs and holding art workshops for homeless men and women, the literary process came as an exciting surprise.
Born into a family of special effects wizards in Hollywood, she spent most of her life firmly rooted in the visual art world. Armed with a new medium, Dreager was propelled into unexpected territory with a newfound form of creativity wrapping itself around her.
Jacqueline Dreager lives and works in Los Angeles and maintains a studio at the Brewery Art Colony, former site of the Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery. She is making art and rewriting her memoirs which will include a sizable section on her varied life in and around Los Angeles and the Southern California coast. Dreager is considering a sequel to Looking East.
Cassandra's Review- The book is long and took quite a bit of time to get through, even being a speed reader did help to shorten the time by that much. It is over 350 pages of small printed font. The author then trapped me in it by creating a story that was to good to put down. So I would recommend clearing a day or three depending on your speed of reading and really take into consideration the power in this work of art.