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The Mother Of All Journeys [Hardcover]

By Dinu Li
Our Price $ 31.50  
Retail Value $ 45.00  
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Item Number 271470  
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Item description for The Mother Of All Journeys by Dinu Li...

This is a journey from China to England; it is a reflection on identity and the passage of time. Dinu Li traces his family's journey from rural China, via Hong Kong, to the industrial north of England. Inspired by the memories of Li's mother, the story is told through photographs, personal recollections, and family snapshots.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   96
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 11.26" Width: 8.74" Height: 0.63"
Weight:   1.72 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2007
Publisher   Dewi Lewis Publishing
ISBN  1904587410  
ISBN13  9781904587415  

Availability  0 units.

More About Dinu Li

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dinu Li is a British Chinese photographer. He has exhibited mainly within the UK but also in China. This is his fourth book. (Previous books Bohemia; Ten Thousand Li; As I Were A River: Immaculate Drowning.)

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Art & Music > Studio Art > Photography
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Collections, Catalogues & Exhibitions
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > General
4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Photo Essays
5Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Photographers, A-Z > General
6Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Photojournalism
7Books > Subjects > Law > Administrative Law > Emigration & Immigration
8Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Special Groups > Ethnic Studies
9Books > Subjects > Reference > Genealogy > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Mother Of All Journeys?

Re-constructing memories and family history through photography  Mar 4, 2008
My fingers lingered over the fabric cover as I pulled the book out of a pile. On the cover, the eyes of a family in an old black-and-white family photo peered out, superimposed on top of a modern color image of the same photo studio. Flipping through the pages I realized that this is much more than a book of random family scrapbook images. This is a deliberate re-construction of one immigrant's personal history -- and a meditation on the interplay of photography, time, distance, and memory.

The text begins: "One winter's day in 2001, I was helping my mother clean her house. I busied myself with the dusting and vacuuming, working my way through the house. By the time I got to her bedroom, I found my mother going through her belongings: family snapshots, letters, an assortment of pocket-sized calendars, old diaries, scraps of paper with dates and notes written on them. It occurred to me that although she and my father lived in a reasonably sized house, she had very few material things. Apart from half a wardrobe of clothes and shoes, it seemed that most of her treasures could fit in a biscuit tin. With so few belongings, I wondered if perhaps the things most important to her were stored inside her head?"

And so began the artist's journey: Dinu Li and his mother, side by side, piecing together recollections and places of the past with their present day realities. Like paging through their family album, we are drawn into his mother's life story as they retrace her steps from China to Hong Kong to England.

The story opens like a film. A flight over the snowy mountaintops of China. Fade into a woman gazing out a window. Gauzy curtains fall over his mother like a thin veil of dust in the rooms of her past. With time, would we even recognize the places of our past? Would we choose to keep the memory, distorted over time, of these places, or would we risk going back to question everything we think we know? Where is the truth? In the photo or in the memory? Has the photograph become our memory and the stories of our lives become built around the pages of our family photo albums?

A mix of present and past, Dinu Li combines family photos, his mother's recollections, and images of the places they revisit as they actually are now. Weathered old family photos, reproduced in their original sizes, juxtaposed against the super-saturated colors of the rooms of her past, decayed with time, keep the reader in a limbo somewhere between then and now. The recent photos tell a story of China's changing landscape over time. Just as our memory shifts so does the land around us. We have the images and the anecdotal details to imagine what her life must have been like. And we also see the life that continued in those places after she had left.

Li succeeds in recapturing the intimate story of his mother's life as she migrated from China to England, which is at the same time part of his own story. He is a first-generation Chinese-English man rediscovering, perhaps even creating, his past, through the snapshots and oral history of his mother. He tells a universal story of a daughter, a wife, and a mother, as seen through the eyes of her son. A rare story of Chinese heritage that will leave you with more questions than answers -- and perhaps encourage you to blow the dust off the pages of your own family album.

-- Colleen Leonard, contributer,

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