»  Fire from the Sun — Table of Contents


This page started out as just an outline table of contents, a list of the 76 chapters. Over the years I have added to it. It now includes full text for each chapter accompanied by an audio clip of me reading the chapter.

The audio is not of the highest quality, and I am short of some of the skills required for this kind of reading. I am no good at accents, for example. My characters speak English with numerous accents: Chinese of course, but also Italian, German, Hungarian, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Australian, and American. I have not attempted to do more than occasionally hint at these varieties of spoken English.

I have tried to sing only once, at the beginning of Chapter 45, and apologize for the result.

And if you want to criticize my pronunciation of Tibetan … okay.

Each chapter is "set up" with an epigrammatic couplet, in the style of old Chinese novels. I have included these couplets here, as a rough guide to events; though a particular couplet may not make sense until you have read the chapter …

Dedication and Author's Note
Southwest China: Summer 1965
Chapter 1 New Costumes at the Swimming Pool
We Have Friends All Over the World!
Chapter 2 A Fairy Weeps a Lake of Tears
Moon Pearl Dances in the Bamboo Grove
Chapter 3 A Bird Who Takes Fright at the Sound of the Bow
The Liang Family Entertains Ardent Young Guests
Chapter 4 Down with Bourgeois Things!
Father Becomes a Big Character Poster
Chapter 5 Moon Pearl No Longer Cares for Loquats
A Scholar Unwisely Speaks His Mind
Chapter 6 The Wood Has Been Made Into A Boat
Through the Palace of Green Porcelain to the Willow Palisade
Northeast China: Fall 1967
Chapter 7 Flat All Around Brings Forth an Upright Official
An Enterprising Young Man Tells of His Conquests
Chapter 8 Clean Up the Class Ranks!
Weilin Joins a Daring Expedition
Chapter 9 Mother Divulges a Terrible Secret
The Barefoot Doctor Shows His Art
Chapter 10 Weilin Ventures a Bold Suggestion
An Old Campaigner Earns Merit for His Next Life
Chapter 11 Strange Blessings Fall on Weilin's Head
A Brief Experience of the Seafaring Life
Southwest China: Fall 1967
Chapter 12 If You Don't Love Opera, You're Not a Human Being
Half Brother Answers Chairman Mao's Call
Chapter 13 A Startling Demonstration of the Power of Poetry
Peach Blossom Lets Down the School
Chapter 14 Moon Pearl Makes the Acquaintance of Yellow Tiger
A Situation in the Affairs of Our Country
Beijing: Fall 1971
Chapter 15 A Young Man's Tears Flow at Parting
An American President Makes Little Impression
Chapter 16 Big Ten Bestows Favor on the Han Family
Moon Pearl Encounters a Potent Demon
Chapter 17 Words of Encouragement Beneath the White Stupa
An Old Revolutionary's Principles Come Under Siege
Chapter 18 Moon Pearl Seeks Divine Assistance
Strange Portents Foretell Great Changes
Chapter 19 The Stage Trembles As a Great Man Departs
The White-Haired Girl Takes a Victim
Chapter 20 Comrade Deng Xiaoping Finds Food for His Soul
Father Returns to His Principles
Chapter 21 A Great Party Shows Symptoms of Decline
Moon Pearl Receives a New Name
Chapter 22 The World's Greatest Tenor Enters the Middle Kingdom
Teacher Powell Bids Farewell to a Favorite Student
Chapter 23 Father Regrets Past Indulgence
Secretary Kang Conducts a Special Examination
Hong Kong: Summer 1970
Chapter 24 An Offering Declined, an Offering Accepted
A Famous Boxer Displays True Compassion
Chapter 25 Fourth Uncle Holds a Full Month Party
Hong Kong — A Paradise for Shoppers!
Chapter 26 When Constabulary Duty's To Be Done
The Excellent and Manly Game of Rugby Football
Chapter 27 Holly and Ivy Prompt Certain Significant Changes
Christmas Feasting Recalls a King of Ancient Times
Chapter 28 The Voice of a Goddess Touches Weilin's Heart
A Lookout Helps Further Some Business Discussions
Chapter 29 A Foreign Official Shows Skill in Rhetoric
The Wu Clan Takes in an Orphan
Chapter 30 One Romantic Young Lady Endures a Rebuff
Another is Broken by Despair
Chapter 31 Thought Processes of a Mathematician
The Hazards of Playing the Financial Markets
Chapter 32 Excessive Purity Turns Away Affection
Weilin Finds the Tinder Box At Last
Chapter 33 Enterprise Blossoms in the Middle Kingdom
Big Fu is Overwhelmed by Greatness
Chapter 34 Pilgrimage to the White Goddess
Harmony Disturbed by Strange Events
Tibet: Fall 1981
Chapter 35 Moon Pearl Ventures to the Far West
A Fellow Traveler Hopes for News from India
Chapter 36 A Brief Introduction to the Culture of Our National Minorities
Why Are There So Few Trees in Tibet?
Chapter 37 Johnny Liu Waits for an East Wind
Unexpected Encounter on the Mountaintop
Chapter 38 Secretary Ma Speaks Out Against Demons
Norbu Swears a Solemn Oath
Chapter 39 Does Heaven Speak?
Old Bolmo Rescues a Snake
Chapter 40 Secretary Ma Loses His Temper
The Demographics of Our Western Regions Explained
Chapter 41 When the Lips Are Gone, the Teeth Are Cold
Signor Cinelli Honors the Privileges of Royalty
Chapter 42 Some Speculations on the Diffusion of Culture
Moon Pearl Undergoes an Audition
London: Summer 1983
Chapter 43 A Suitably Poetic Welcome to Shakespeare's Island
Diplomatic Skills on Display at a Royal Palace
Chapter 44 Mr Lubetsky Psychoanalyzes a Voice
A Visit to the Land of Saints and Scholars is Mooted
Chapter 45 Fate Fulfills a Rash Vow
An Experience Too Strange for Words
New York: Winter 1984
Chapter 46 A Chance Encounter by the Ice Dragon
Solitary Pleasures Prevail Over Party Spirit
Chapter 47 Tales of Success in the Land of Opportunity
An Intimate Alliance With a Trusted Friend
Chapter 48 Discontent in Wealth, High Above the City
An Old Acquaintance Has Taken Poetic Advice
Chapter 49 A Great Man Regrets His Flippancy
Moon Pearl's Guiren Brings Her a Triumph
Chapter 50 A Romantic Tragedy Has Weilin's Full Attention
The Way That Can Be Spoken Of Is Not the True Way
Chapter 51 From the Top of Mount Tai the World Looks Small
Some Illusions the Mathematical Temperament is Prone To
Chapter 52 Precious Jade Reveals His Nature
St Agatha Watches Over the Dance of Three
Chapter 53 A High Mandarin Pursues Enlightenment
Significance of a Good Municipal Water Supply
Chapter 54 A Rare, Illegal Delicacy Proves Disappointing
The Lotus Is Broken But the Threads Still Connect
Chapter 55 Johnny Liu Mates Expedience with Sincerity
A Chivalrous Gentleman Performs a Second Rescue
Chapter 56 Moon Pearl Finds Solace at the Seashore
And Braves the Lions in an Ancient Arena
Chapter 57 Money Can Move the Gods
An Ironically-Named Heroine Comes to Grief
Chapter 58 Technology Holds Many Traps for the Sly Man
A Mountain of Troubles Turns the Thoughts to Home
Beijing: Spring 1989
Chapter 59 Teacher Zou Makes an Attractive Offer
The Students of Beijing Petition the Emperor
Chapter 60 Importance of Showing the Correct Attitude
A Sentimental Education
Chapter 61 An Ancient Philosopher Teaches Us All A Lesson
The Flowers of May Bloom in the Wild
Chapter 62 Seventeen-Arch Bridge Leads to a Temple Ghost
An Appearance on Stage Brings Old Friends Together
Chapter 63 Moon Pearl Performs an Act of Deception
Norbu Seeks the Consolations of Religion
Chapter 64 Wang Senior's Speech Fails to Persuade
The People Confront Their Army
Chapter 65 Half Brother Offers His Opinion
Our Nation's Leaders Fuss and Fret
Chapter 66 Who'd Miss Out on a Revolution?
Yuehan Attains His Heart's Desire
Chapter 67 Beneath a Fallen Nest, How Can There Be Unbroken Eggs?
Norbu Goes in Search of a Classmate
Chapter 68 A Perilous Journey, A Fragrant Haven
The Secret of Great Opera Singers Revealed
Chapter 69 A Worldly Man Yearns for Tranquility
A Kind Protector Bids a Warrior's Farewell
New York: Summer 1989
Chapter 70 Two Scholars Guard a Precious Treasure
There is No Armor Against Fate
Chapter 71 A New Year Brings New Life
Tasting the Air in a Famous Park
Chapter 72 News from a Place Far Away
Three Calls on the Thatched Hut
Chapter 73 Reminder of a Promise Long Forgotten
A Maker of Wigs Lifts Moon Pearl's Spirits
Chapter 74 I Have Lived for Art, I Have Lived for Love
A Loyal Foster Parent Seeks Comfort
Chapter 75 An Invalid is Transported to the Seaside
Painting the Eyes of the Dragon
Chapter 76 A Hero Crosses the Ocean to Find Shelter
Weilin Voyages Beyond the River of Stars
An Operatic Glossary