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Amazon: Nanjing Never Cries: A Novel
The Nanjing Massacre by the Japanese during the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 left hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians dead. In her book The Rape of Nanking, American journalist Iris Chang opened the eyes of the world to the horrors of this act of genocide in the middle of World War II. Now Dr. Hong Zheng (Hung Cheng), a professor from MIT who was born in China in 1937, has brought a new, personified light on the story through the eyes of four richly wrought characters in his debut novel NANJING NEVER CRIES (MIT Press/Killian Press, September 2016, ISBN 9781944347000).
Having been a child throughout the aftermath of the Sino-Japanese War, Zheng witnessed the difficulties of this time first hand. He has long advocated for the voices of those whom he feels have been ignored by the history books, and during a symposium at MIT on Hiroshima, his frustration rose to the surface. When the panelists discussed American guilt as a result of the bombing, Zheng was prompted to ask whether the Japanese might feel any remorse about their actions? The Japanese speaker later approached Zheng and asked him to sign a petition urging the Japanese government to apologize to China. It was during moments like these that Zheng considered the novel he wanted to write. He traveled to China and met with two Nanjing massacre survivors, and his research and interviews are incorporated into the story.
NANJING NEVER CRIES is focused on MIT graduate John Winthrop and his brilliant Chinese partner Calvin Ren. The two collaborate on a top-secret project to design and build warplanes for the Chinese to defend themselves against the Japanese. As John and Calvin work on their plans, their naïve thoughts of winning the war with their inventions make the actual conflict seem surreal and far away.
While in China Winthrop meets Chen May, a beautiful 18-year-old girl from Nanjing and spends many afternoons with her browsing antiques. Calvin’s wife Judy continues teaching her middle school students while Calvin keeps his nose to the grindstone building their planes.
Ultimately tragedy strikes when the Japanese invade the city, killing thousands including people close to all of Zheng’s characters. Amidst the chaos, the four friends wonder if they will ever see each other again, after the city of Nanjing falls to pieces around them and their loved ones are killed in the attack. May vows to look for the soldier who murdered her beloved father; she finds him after the war, and the novel ends with a touching scene. Vivid and lyrical, Zheng’s novel NANJING NEVER CRIES captures the intimate relationships and churning emotions that are at the heart of war.
About the Author:
Hong Zheng (Dr. Hung Cheng) has been Professor of Applied Mathematics in the Theoretical Physics Group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1970. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with his wife, Jill. Nanjing Never Cries is his first novel.
About Killian Press:
Killian Press is a publishing services and distribution imprint of the MIT Press intended for MIT faculty and alumni works. Killian Press titles, self-published by their authors, are distinct from the MIT Press’s own books, which are published by the Press under the MIT Press imprint.
NANJING NEVER CRIES: A Novel
By Dr. Hung Cheng
Killian Press, an Imprint of MIT Press
Publication Date: September 2016
Hardcover & E-book