A Thousand Miles of Dreams: The Journeys of Two Chinese Sisters

book cover
A Thousand Miles of Dreams, Roman and Littlefield, 2006
Chinese book cover
Chinese Translation, Baihua Literature and Art Publishing House, 2008
Sasha Su-Ling Welland. A Thousand Miles of Dreams: The Journeys of Two Chinese Sisters. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.

A Thousand Miles of Dreams is an evocative and intimate biography of two Chinese sisters who took very different paths in their quest to be independent women. Ling Shuhao arrived in Cleveland in 1925 to study medicine in the middle of a U.S. crackdown on Chinese immigrant communities, and her effort to assimilate began. She became an American named Amy, while her sister Ling Shuhua burst onto the Beijing literary scene as a writer of short fiction. Shuhua's tumultuous affair with Virginia Woolf's nephew during his years in China eventually drew her into the orbit of the Bloomsbury group. The sisters were Chinese "modern girls" who sought to forge their own way in an era of social revolution that unsettled relations between men and women, and among nations. Daughters of an imperial scholar-official and a concubine, they followed trajectories unimaginable to their parents' generation.

Biographer Sasha Su-Ling Welland stumbled across their remarkable stories while recording her grandmother's oral history. She discovered the secret Amy had jealously hidden from family in the U.S.—her sister's fame as a Chinese woman writer—as well as intriguing discrepancies in the sisters' versions of the past. Shaped by the social history of their day, the journeys of these extraordinary women spanned the twentieth century and three continents in a saga of East-West cultural exchange and personal struggle.

  • American Library Association Booklist Editors’ Choice, 2006
  • Borders Original Voices Non-­Fiction Selection, 2006
  • Reviewed in American Anthropologist, Asian Affairs, Booklist, H-­Net Reviews, Honolulu Advertiser, International Examiner, Publishers Weekly, Seattle Times, Times Literary Supplement, and Washington Post
  • Features/interviews published in UC Santa Cruz Currents and The Stanford Magazine

A Chinese translation of A Thousand Miles of Dreams was published by Baihua Literature and Art Publishing House:《家国梦影:凌叔华与凌淑浩》, translated by Li Juan and Zhang Linjie, Tianjin: Baihua Wenyi Chubanshe, 2008. It was listed as #33 in the top 100 books published in 2008 by China Reading Weekly [中华读书报].

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