Sunday, August 14, 2011

Book Review

Caldwell, Bo. City of Tranquil Light. Henry Holt and Company. 2010.

In 1906 two Mennonites, Will and Katherine, separately join a missionary journey to the North China Plain. They are surprised by love for each other and the people of Kuang P’ing Ch’eng—City of Tranquil Light. Together Will, the preacher, and Katherine, the nurse, share hardships and personal loss as they survive the crumbling of a more than two-thousand-year-old dynasty. Through societal collapse and dangers from bandits, civil war, and the attacks by Southern armies of Chiang Kai-shek, Will and Katherine slowly earn the respect of the local people. These courageous nationals continue the work when the Communists threaten and missionaries are forced to leave China.

“City” is a beautifully written life story told from Will’s perspective with Katherine’s journal entries, growing tendrils of grace and faith from the earth of China to our hearts far across the sea.

“Chung-Kuo.  It means Middle Kingdom, because of the people’s ancient belief that their country was at the center of a vast square earth, surrounded by the Four Seas, beyond which lay islands inhabited by barbarians. That’s us.”

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