"Forbidden City" by Vanessa Hua
Vanessa Hua is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of the novel “A River of Stars” and a story collection, “Deceit and Other Possibilities.”
In her new novel “Forbidden City” (Ballentine Books) – it’s the eve of China’s Cultural Revolution and sixteen-year-old Mei dreams of becoming a model revolutionary. When the Communist Party recruits girls for a mysterious duty in the capital, she seizes the opportunity to escape her impoverished village. It is only when Mei arrives at the Chairman’s opulent residence—a forbidden city unto itself—that she learns that the girls’ job is to dance with the Party elites.