The Middle Heart


The Middle Heart (1996)

by Bette Bao Lord

1 in stock


It is the summer of 1932, the year the Japanese conquered Manchuria, China’s northeast region. Three children meet and become best friends for the summer, and blood brothers for a lifetime. They are: Steel Hope, the second son of the House of Li, a once-great clan which survives now on handouts from his grandfather, a merchant who traffics with the Japanese; Steel Hope’s “bookmate,” Mountain Pine, Steel Hope’s servant and conscience; and the irrepressible Firecrackers, daughter of the Li’s gravekeeper, who masquerades as a boy to take the place of a brother killed years earlier by the Japanese. At the end of the summer a tragic event — a good deed gone awry — splits them apart until they are grown.

During the subsequent years of war and cultural upheaval, the destinies of the three friends are realized — their loyalty to each other tested by the demands of politics and patriotism, and by the question of where honor and obligation lie when confronted by love.