Sunday, July 14, 2013

Meme by Meme Churton

Meme by Meme Churton Published by David Ling Autographed by author Published 2012 This is a unique autobiography by a remarkable woman who tells the story of her amazing life in vivid, personal detail. Meme is half-Italian and half-Chinese and this unusual combination has coloured her personality and the course of her life. Growing up in Italy, she lived through the rise of Fascism and the Second World War. Next she went to China and, while working as a diplomat, found herself in the midst of the Chinese Revolution. Then she travelled to the other side of the world at the invitation of a New Zealand soldier whom she had met at the end of the war. Meme was shocked by the curiously old-fashioned and provincial way of life she found in 1950s New Zealand, but for various reasons she stayed, got married, and became involved in a variety of campaigns to enlarge its culture. She managed one of the first dealer art galleries, started one of its first European-style coffee bars, championed international cuisine, promoted fashion for women and taught Italian language and culture at the University of Auckland. Meme's account offers rich insights into New Zealand social history and entertaining stories about the colourful people with whom she worked and partied. Her return visits to China have kept her in touch with the huge social changes in that country. Above all, the book tracks Meme's lifetime quest to compare and understand the three cultures that have made up her life - Italian, Chinese and the Anglo-Saxon aspects of New Zealand. Her memoir is brilliantly written, vivid and fast-moving, and has a breath-taking reach and depth. With an unforgettable personality, Meme is vivacious, charismatic and frank in her opinions - and she has a unique perspective enriched by her inside knowledge of three cultures. She is a great storyteller with a wealth of absorbing stories to tell.

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