Language: English.
Genre: Fiction (Novel)
ISBN: 978-988-19934-9-6
Format: Pbk. pp. 296.
Size: 21mm. wide by 145mm.
Published Proverse Hong Kong, 23 March 2012.
Purchase Link: Purchase and details link: Bao Bao's Odyssey

Born in Fuzhou, PAUL TING left China when he was a student. Paul Ting has lived in Hong Kong, Germany, Spain, Canada and France and has a good command of English, German, Spanish and French as well as of his native language, Chinese. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario, Canada with a B.A. (Hon.) degree in German literature. He has worked in very different locations, including an oil-rig near the Alberta- Saskatchewan border, Canada and a logging camp in British Columbia, Canada. His occupations have varied greatly, including for example working at Lufthansa, as a computer salesman and as the chairman of a publicly-listed company in Hong Kong. He has traveled to over ninety countries and participated in various adventurous trips, ranging from hitch-hiking across Canada (from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland). He is married with a son and a daughter.

Mischievous adolescent Song Bao Bao grows up devoted to his country under the stringent eyes of the Communist party. Precocious for his age, he has strong innate curiosity. He discovers many truths that others may not wish him to know. Anxious to learn more, he goes to great lengths to build a powerful and illegal radio capable of receiving censored frequencies, such as the Voice of America broadcasting in Chinese. Conscientiously fulfilling his daytime duties to the Party, the boy also leads a busy nightlife – such as spying on Uncle and Auntie's bedroom activities, attempting to make sense of human sexuality and converting complex mathematical concepts into simple images to tutor his girl-friend Dan Dan. The young boy follows Communist doctrine obediently and enthusiastically to pursue his dream of becoming a Nobel Prize winner. When required to engage in such activities, he writes the most Da Zi Baos (Big Character Posters) in the least amount of time, makes the most impressive paper heart in class, energetically kills sparrows, and assumes the role of leader in group discussions. His enthusiasm is partly based on his assumption that a bright future lies ahead of him. Then, one day he realises that, because of his background, he is and always will be ineligible to attend a good university in his home country. Bao Bao is devastated. All his dreams are shattered. There is no future ahead of him. Then, mustering all his courage, he racks his brains to find a way out of this impasse. Finally he makes a fateful decision that will change his life forever.

"Paul Ting's Bao Bao's Odyssey provides valuable first-hand descriptions of everyday life in Mao's China in the 1950s-early 1960s, covering a series of important political and social events (such as the Hundred Flowers campaign, the Great Leap Forward movement, and the famine) from a teenager's innocent yet critical perspective. For those who hope to have a better understanding of China's cruel 'age of revolutions,' this is a book worth reading." — Chen Jian, author of Mao's China and the Cold War, Michael J. Zak Professor of History for US-China Relations, Department of History, Cornell University

"In this wonderfully illuminating book, Ting immerses us in Chairman Mao's China of 1958; where his teenage protagonist confronts the Kafkaesque perceptions and misconceptions of the cold war era. With an authoritative and authentic voice, Ting guides us through the life of adolescent Bao Bao, whose ambition to win a Nobel Prize for science is at risk of being thwarted by his family's bourgeois heritage. In the best tradition of historical fiction, the novel leaves us imbued in the period; and the readers will long carry a part of Bao Bao and his quest with us. It would be hard to forget this appealing and heart-warming story." — Patricia W. Grey, author of Death Has A Thousand Doors

"This book enriches our understanding of 1950s Shanghai through the personal story of Song Bao Bao." — Lee Pui-tak, President, The Asian Studies Association of Hong Kong


Visit or return to the Proverse homepage: PV.