The Cooked Seed


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In 1994, Anchee Min published Red Azalea, a memoir of growing up during the violent trauma of the Cultural Revolution. It became an  international bestseller. Twenty years later, Min returns to give us the next chapter, as she moves from the shocking deprivations of her homeland to the sudden bounty of the promised land of America, without language, money or a clear path.

Once in America, having gone through the gruelling immigration process, Anchee finds she is on her own. With indomitable spirit she  teaches herself English by watching Sesame Street, has five jobs at once and sleeps in unheated rooms in desolate neighbourhoods. As well as her struggle to understand her new country – the food, the warm showers – Anchee suffers rape, collapses from exhaustion, marries  poorly and divorces after giving birth to her daughter, Lauryann. Despite her tough, lonely journey, Anchee finds that it is Lauryann who will save her and root her, finally, in America.

As a child, Anchee understood herself as a mere ‘bolt on the great machine that was Communism’; in America she learns how to succeed
in a radically different culture despite bitter hardships and countless setbacks. The Cooked Seed is an unforgettable story.

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