My grandmother liked to tell this story."The evening you were born, I looked out at the sky over Shangai. The setting sun was breaking through the clouds. I had never seen such a beautiful sunset. I remember thinking that your life would be a resplendent tapestry, just like that palette of reds. I was sure of it."
This book is made up of thirty chapters – like the thirty variations in Bach's masterwork, the Goldberg Variations. Thirty chapters plus an opening and closing aria, bringing the world full circle like time's continuum – like the wheel of life.
I am often asked how a Chinese woman, brought up in such a distant cultural milieu, can play Bach. My hope is that after having read this book, the reader will understand and above all, have the desire to listen, or relisten, to Bach. I also hope that he or she will have the desire to read or reread Laozi, the great Chinese philosopher.
For these two sages are very much alike, and their two cultures – Chinese and Western – are not so dissimilar.