The Crystal Monkey

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In Nohrden’s debut novel, Min Li is a girl coming of age during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the years thereafter. She believes that China is the greatest country in the world, but her faith is shaken when the Red Guards exile and execute several members of her community. Growing up under Mao, she begins to question not only oppressive communist ideology, but also the traditional principles of Chinese society. She struggles against a traditional patriarchal family and mores that would keep her illiterate because of her gender and steer her into loveless marriage. Offsetting the hardships of daily life, Min Li experiences dreams of hope and a happy future mysteriously connected to a crystal monkey, a toy from her childhood. Nohrden’s story offers an education in Chinese history; seen through Min Li’s perspective, opportunities rise and fall during the Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap Forward, the death of Mao Zedong, and the rise of Deng Xiaoping. Nohrden crafts an absorbing story about how political and social factors shape the thoughts and opportunities of individuals.

Click the image to read excerpts from The Crystal Monkey.

Praise for The Crystal Monkey

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The Crystal Monkey captures the soul of the Chinese people during a difficult time in that country’s history. The main character, Min Li, demonstrates that perseverance always triumphs

over failure in even the most impossible of situations and that if some dreams are unattainable, rewarding alternatives can be achieved.”

—Frank Dux, international mixed martial arts champion and

author of The Secret Man, Phenomena, and A Sit Down with Frank Dux, portrayed in the movie Blood Sport by Jean Claude van Damme.

“Well written and readable . . . It forcefully and powerfully tells us the true story of the Cultural Revolution.”

—Larry Hyslop, Canadian Education Consultant, Qinghuangdao, China

The Crystal Monkey is a compelling, wonderfully written story and a delight to read as it gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of China’s culture.”

—D. S. Hellen, author of Chasing Evil’s Shadow

“Pat has written a book which draws you in from the first paragraph. And because he actually lived and taught in China, the characters jump off the page. This book will give you an understanding of China that you simply won’t get by reading the headlines or watching TV. A great read.”

—Fred Weinberg, editor and publisher, The Penny Press

I love this book. . . . The historic aspect was illuminating. We read so little about that time period in China, especially how people endured it and all the erratic changes. . . . It is all subtly

interwoven into the narrative and keeps the reader wondering.”

—Stella Stewart, Retired high school teacher

 “Patrick Nohrden’s novel The Crystal Monkey . . . is charming first novel set in China during the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath. The strength of the story comes from its main character,

Min Li, who is both believable and likeable as she grows from a little girl into a young, independent woman in a world where women are expected to know their place.”

—Deacon Joseph W. Bell, Director of Permanent Deaconate Formation and Chancellor, Diocese of Reno

“I was very pleased to have read [The Crystal Monkey]. . . . Patrick Nohrden does an excellent job, with specific and detailed examples of the everyday life in China. The Crystal Monkey is

great for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to any student, homemaker, or anyone who likes learning about the history and culture of a country such as China.”

—Cheryl St . Denny, Beijing, China

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