A humorous and moving coming-of-age story that brings a unique, not-quite-outsiders perspective to Chinas shift from ancient empire to modern superpower Raised in a strict Chinese-American household in the suburbs, Val Wang dutifully got good grades, took piano lessons, and performed in a Chinese dance troupeuntil she shaved her head and became a leftist, the stuff of many teenage rebellions. But Vals true mutiny was when she moved toChina, the land her parents had fled before the Communist takeover in 1949.Val arrives inBeijingin 1998 expecting to find freedom but instead lives in the old city with her traditional relatives, who wake her at dawn with the sound of a state-run television program playing next to her cot, make a running joke of how much she eats, and monitor her every move. But outside, she soon discovers a city rebelling against its roots just as she is, struggling too to find a new, modern identity. Rickshaws make way for taxicabs, skyscrapers replacehutong courtyard houses,andBeijingprepares to make its debut on the world stage with the 2008 Olympics.And in the gritty outskirts of the city where she moves,athriving avant-garde subculture is making art out of the chaos. Val plunges into the citys dizzying culture and nightlife and begins shooting a documentary, about a Peking Opera family who is witnessing the death of their traditional art.Brilliantly observed and winningly told,Beijing Bastardis a compelling story of a young woman finding her place in the world and ofChina, as its ancient past gives way to a dazzling but uncertain future.