Tuesday, May 8, 2012

'Little Red Guard' author Wen Huang has come to terms with his father, and with China

Wenguang Huang, whose book traces his path from schoolboy communist to Chicago resident, notes the tiny contradictions and fissures of party loyalty, but also paints a rare portrait of the every day family eccentricities of China in the 1970s.

A couple of months ago, as strong early notices for "The Little Red Guard" began coming in from Publishers Weekly and Oprah.com, Huang packed unpublished proofs of the memoir and flew to China. He brought a copy to his father's grave. He thought his father would have been horrified at its mentions of family secrets and fights.

Huang is 47. He has a Charlie Brown head, the smile of a Halloween pumpkin and the cheerful, ingratiating manner of a guy who makes friends easily. He came to Chicago via the University of Illinois at Springfield, where he studied journalism in the early '90s. He worked in the state legislature's research division, and today — though for the past two decades he has been writing commentary about China for The New York Times, Fortune magazine and the Christian Science Monitor — Huang still keeps a marketing job at Aon.

Huang was featured in an May 8, 2012, article in the Chicago Tribune.

Read the full interview online