Nell Freudenberger's Dissident

Nell Freudenberger
Writer Nell Freudenberger set her first book in Delhi. Her new novel jumps between Los Angeles and Beijing. It's a tale of love, family, art, and ownership
MPR Photo/Euan Kerr

In it a famous painter and performance artist arrives in Los Angeles from China. He's come to teach at an exclusive girls school, and to present an exhibition. But who is he really? What did he actually do in China? And what secrets will he uncover in the home of the dysfunctional family where he is staying?

Freudenberger told Minnesota Public Radio's Euan Kerr she was inspired in part by a show she saw of photographs of dissident artists working in Beijing in the early 1990's.

But she thinks the story really stems from a Chinese teacher she had when she was in high school.

He insisted there were specific ways of painting specific things.

It's an approach which she says helped her understand the writing process

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