Sasha Su-Ling Welland


"A coming-of-age account of the Ling sisters, Welland’s book spans the tumultuous period of modern China’s history in the 1920s, revealing new insights about the role of Chinese women as it changed not only in China but also the West."
—Collin Tong , International Examiner, January 2009

"Overall, while a fine biography, this book is also an informative and engaging work in the literary genre of ethnography, enhancing our understanding of women, education, and intellectual history in modern China, as well as exploring the experiences of Chinese immigrants in the United States and Europe."
—Shanshan Du, American Anthropologist, March 2008

"The author of A Thousand Miles of Dreams intersperses the accounts of the two
sisters’ lives in alternate chapters, thus providing a fascinating comparison of experiences in these distant countries and contrasting cultures as the Second World War loomed."
—Michael Sheringham, Asian Affairs, March 2008

"Welland's forebears could fairly be called trailblazing, and...she deftly shows how their lives mingled with history."
—Nora Krug, The Washington Post, October 2007

"An intriguing and memorable study...We have been told the lives of two powerful and interesting women...both determined to surmount as best they could the restrictions placed on women's lives."
—Peter Stansky, The Virginia Woolf Miscellany, Fall 2007

"Biographies are said to narrate the life of an individual. In this multi-layered work, Sasha Su-Ling Welland accomplishes much more, as she relates a complex story of re-creations, self-discovery, and selective memories..."
—Valentina Boretti, H-Net Humanities and Social Sciences Online, August 2007

"Fascinating...Sasha Welland has produced a wonderful book from the lives of these two strong sisters."
—Frances Wood , The Times Literary Supplement, August 2007

"Welland skillfully navigates the murky waters of memory, exaggeration, cultural misunderstanding and transformed identity, with both a scholar's critical eye and a granddaughter's desire to believe. "
—Lavonne Leong, The Honolulu Advertiser, February 2007

"Welland wisely refrains from intruding on the narration, allowing her fascinating topic to speak for itself. Scholarly and 'serious' in its depth and breadth of research, Welland's book is also highly readable and full of rich detail....This is a book that enlightens as much as it delights and remains with you long after the reading."
—David Takami, The Seattle Times, September 2006

"Welland is an anthropologist with a novelist's eye for the art of both making lives and making books. She weaves biography, memoir, genealogy, social history, literary criticism, and theoretical reflection coherently, accessibly, and, indeed, beautifully."
—Steven Shroeder, Booklist (starred review), August 2006

"Filled with fascinating glimpses of 20th-century Chinese women's intellectual history and insights into the Chinese-American and Anglo-Chinese experience."
Publishers Weekly, July 2006


The Paths That Led From China—In London and San Francisco, sisters found contrasting ways to show their feminism

"Once there were two sisters. Both were 'modern girls' who wanted an independence that their culture wasn’t inclined to grant. One was a writer and artist who met some of the most eminent intellectuals of her day, including members of the Bloomsbury Group. The other was a scientist who dreamed of becoming a pioneering physician. With their very different ways of looking at the world, they told very different stories about their own family."
—Charles Matthews, Stanford Magazine, May/June 2007

Sasha Su-Ling Welland & A Thousand Miles of Dreams

Author interview with Danni Redding Lapuz, Development Director of VIA, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing understanding between the United States and Asia through public service and programs promoting cross-cultural education. Sasha worked with VIA's China program as an English teacher in Beijing from 1992-1994.
VIAlogue, Spring 2007

Alumna's new book puts an international face on feminism

"Sasha Su-Ling Welland's new book tells the stories of her grandmother and great aunt, spirited and competitive Chinese sisters who came of age in China in the 1920s. As part of an international wave of 'modern girls,' these young women flouted convention as successfully as their Western counterparts, the familiar 'flappers' of the Roaring '20s."
—Jennifer McNulty, UC Santa Cruz Currents, January 2007

Advance Praise

"With magnificently fluid erudition and a compassionately wry eye, Sasha Su-Ling Welland forges the story of two remarkable women whose lives expand our knowledge of twentieth-century feminism in China, the U.S., and Britain. Weaving her own autobiographical accounts into the mix, Welland deftly depicts how the absurdities of racial and sexual constructs persist over time and place, while arguing for the resolute power of following one's heart."
—Anna Maria Hong, editor of Growing Up Asian American: An Anthology

"This is a wonderfully written account of two Chinese modern girls whose lives traversed the entire twentieth century from China to England and the United States. Their artistic and professional accomplishments through decades of war and exile may be legendary, but their personal lives were also filled with many human frailties. Intermixed with Welland's reminiscences of growing up in the United States as an Eurasian whose mother was partly raised by an African American housekeeper, the tales of these women weave an intricate tapestry of literary pursuit, transnational migration, an interracial affair, and middle-class domesticity. The author wields the pen of a historian, an ethnographer, and a poet, but ultimately it is the writer as a granddaughter and a grandniece that gives the story its most intimate human touch."
—Shu-mei Shih, University of California, Los Angeles, and author of The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917-1937

"Sasha Welland's deft and gripping biography of her grandmother and great-aunt is elegiac but never sentimental. It is compelling, lucid, historically nuanced, and an absorbing read."
—Gail Hershatter, University of California, Santa Cruz

"Sasha Su-Ling Welland is Heartland-born, with deep China roots. In A Thousand Miles of Dreams, she reaches back through family documents and her own scholarly reading of the historical record to create a portrait of a family's personal journey that is moving, passionate, and fully accessible."
—Clark Blaise , author of I Had a Father, Time Lord, and others, and former director of the International Writers Program, University of Iowa

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© ssw | updated: January 24, 2009 by Sasha Welland


advance praise


Imprint of the Crescent Moon Bookstore, Shanghai, 1927