Han Suyin’s Many-Splendored World

Han Suyin’s Many-Splendored World

The New York Times

Georgia Dullea

Being remembered as the author of  ”A Many-Splendored Thing,” the semiautobiographical love story of a Eurasian physician and a British journalist in Hong Kong, which inspired a sentimental movie and an even more sentimental song, is a bore, says Han Suyin, 33 years and 16 books after the fact.

In this country, “they still identify me with Jennifer Jones and that song,” the 68-year-old Dr. Han said with a weary smile, ”and I do get bored because, well, I’ve done other things.”

Dr. Han, who lives in Lausanne, Switzerland, was sitting in her pied-à-terre on Beekman Place, drinking beer from a china mug and reflecting on change – both in China and in her own mind.

“I’m a person who changes, who adapts,” she said. “It’s because of my avidity for learning. If tomorrow you prove to me something new, I’ll be quite willing to overturn my ideas because ideas are made to be overturned.”

Exploring Two Cultural Identities

Born in Peking of a Chinese father and Belgian mother, Dr. Han has devoted her literary career to exploring her two cultural identities and to explaining East to West. “Instead of remaining torn and frayed, as so many other people, I come together and now both my worlds have come together,” she said, pressing one palm on the other. “To be quite honest, I was not very happy in a world where China and the West were at odds”…

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