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Accomplice to Memory
Author: Q.M. Zhang
Q.M. Zhang (2017) Kaya Press; ISBN: 978-1885030528, https://www.qmzhang.com/accomplice-to-memory
In Accomplice to Memory, Q.M. Zhang pieces together the mystery of her father’s exodus from China to the U.S. during the two decades of civil and world war leading up to the 1949 revolution. But after a lifetime of her father’s secrets and lies, Zhang’s efforts to untangle the truth are thwarted by the distance between generations and her father’s growing dementia. One day, late in his life, Zhang’s father tells her a story she never heard before, and suddenly, all of his previous stories begin to unravel. Before she can get clarity on the new information, her father is hospitalized. Armed with history books and timelines, Zhang sits at her father’s bedside recording accounts of love, espionage, and betrayal, attempting to parse out the truth. Part memoir, historical fiction, and documentary photographs, this award-winning hybrid text explores the silences and subterfuge of an immigrant parent, and the struggles of the second generation to understand the first.
Q.M. Zhang is a writer, editor, teacher, and founder of MemoryWorks, a creative research & writing practice for recovering and reclaiming histories that have been censored, silenced, or erased. Her award-winning book, Accomplice to Memory (Kaya Press, 2017), combines memoir, historical fiction, and documentary photographs to explore the hybrid possibilities of truth telling across generations and geographies. Her essay, Proximate Things, published in Looking Back at Hong Kong (Cart Noodle Press, 2021), is a personal and collective re-membrance of Hong Kong in the 1990s. She is currently Prose Editor at The Massachusetts Review and Associate Professor Emerita of Cultural Psychology & Creative Nonfiction at Hampshire College.