The Boy from Clearwater | Excerpt
Since this week is Banned Books Week, we have a special excerpt of The Boy from Clearwater, by Yu Pei-Yun and Zhou Jian-Xin, translated by Lin King, showing how a teenager’s life is upended after he is arrested for participating in a clandestine book club. The book, which is based on a true story, is due out from Levine Querido on November 21; here’s the publisher’s summary:
Tsai Kun-lin, an ordinary boy, was born in Qingshui, Taichung in 1930s Taiwan. Part one depicts a carefree childhood despite the Japanese occupation: growing up happily with the company of nursery rhymes and picture books on Qingshui Street. As war emerges Tsai’s memories shift to military parades, air raids, and watching others face conscription into the army. It seems no one can escape. After the war, the book-loving teenager tries hard to learn Mandarin and believes he is finally stepping towards a comfortable future, but little does he know, a dark cloud awaits him ahead.
Part two opens with illustrations reminiscent of woodcuts showing the soul-crushing experience of Tsai’s detention and imprisonment. In his second year of high school, Tsai attends a book club hosted by his teacher and is consequently arrested on a false charge of taking part in an “illegal” assembly. After being tortured, he is sentenced to ten years in prison, deprived of civil rights for seven years, and sent to Green Island for “reformation.” Lasting until his release in September 1960, Tsai, a victim of the White Terror era, spent his youth in prison on an unjust charge.
The excerpt that follows shows Tsai Kun-lin going about his life—until he is arrested.
About Brigid Alverson
Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good E-Reader.com. Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.
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