In 1980, Gail Pellett, a producer for radio and TV, moved from New York to Beijing to work as a “foreign expert” at Radio Beijing, China’s equivalent to the Voice of America. Invited for her expertise and American-Canadian perspective, she was then treated as a Western spy. Chinese colleagues, acquaintances and, most painfully, lovers were warned away.
During a pivotal moment in post Cultural Revolution China when windows were being thrown open – and then, slammed shut -- this story records Pellett’s journey from hope, naivete and ignorance through profound disillusionment and emotional pain to enlightenment in her efforts to taste Mao’s forbidden fruit.
All good journalists travel in multiple time zones: the present, the past, and the future, enabling readers to share a textured experience as history, politics, and culture create a vortex of change. My gifted colleague, Gail Pellett, who arrived in Beijing in l980, becomes witness to history’s turning. And she fortunately possessed the sensuous antennae to capture the emotional truth within the discernible reality. She has written a riveting tale of a woman’s adventure in pursuit of forbidden fruit.
–Bill Moyers, broadcast journalist and author
Both as history as well as deeply intimate and crisply reported memoir, Forbidden Fruit is a fascinating read, rich with romance and charged with suspense.
–Barbara Ehrenreich, author, Nickel and Dimed, and other books
...a compelling story about identity, citizenship, nation, and a personal path of love, heartbreak and loss. We are reminded with every turn of the page about the lives of people trying to negotiate the public and private versions of their hearts and minds.
–Shawn Wong, author and Professor of English, University of Washington
This gripping story is much more than a memoir of a uniquely brave, adventurous feminist woman journalist and filmmaker. It also brings to life much of the culture of post-Cultural Revolution China. On the level of Pellett’s films -- a high standard.
–Linda Gordon, author and Professor of Humanities, NYU