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Family novel traces China's upheavals; Spring Moon: A Novel of China, by Bette Bao Lord. New York: Avon Books. 464 pp.

This outstanding novel presents a 100-year panorama of the events in China and members of a privileged family whose world is collapsing around them. It is a vivid account of the crucial years of the dissolution of the Manchu Empire, the attempt to establish a republic, two Japanese wars, the Kuomintang's struggle with the communists, and the latter's seizure of the country.

The author doesn't attempt to explain or interpret, letting events speak for themselves as national situations are transposed into family affairs. Gradually her point of view asserts itself between the lines when she speaks of the ''unequal treaties'' without comment, later telling us how the Changs took refuge in those very foreign enclaves the treaties made possible.

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