LOS ANGELES — Everyone in the United States has heard of 9/11. Taiwan’s equivalent is 2-2-8, standing for 2/28/47, when a nationwide massacre occurred under Chinese Kuomintang rule.
After forty years the horrors that occurred under martial law remain secrets to the families that suffered them.
Jennifer J. Chow, author of The 228 Legacy, was inspired to write a novel after hearing family stories.
“I wanted to explore the effects of deep-held secrets from an event of this magnitude across several generations on a Taiwanese-American family,” Chow said.
Civilian deaths ranged from 10,000 to 30,000 from the violent suppression of an anti-government uprising against the KMT-led Republic of China government. The “White Terror” that followed led to thousands more imprisoned or killed and sparked an independence movement.
“I first heard about 228 while viewing photos of a two-million-person chain commemorating the event,” she said “In 2004, people stretched across the island of Taiwan to bring awareness to this significant incident. I realized then how emotional and important, yet unknown to the world, this event was.”
A novel of cultural identity and long-standing secrets, The 228 Legacy weaves together multigenerational viewpoints, showing how heritage and history can influence individual behavior and family bonds.
“On my several visits to Taiwan, I also saw the heart-breaking impact on my relatives,” she said. “They almost teared up recounting the tens of thousands of innocent people who died during that time, including the elite of the country’s citizens. Since the subject was taboo for many years, many generations also had to hold onto the dark secret in their hearts.”
Jane Porter, national bestselling author of The Good Daughter, describes the book as, “An impressive debut! Moving, hopeful, and triumphant. A compelling read.”
Chow’s novel addresses the 228 Massacre and how its emotional associations could have created a gap between the Chinese and Taiwanese peoples. It tells the story of how the event affected one family across the generations. It is a book about how experiences shape families, making them draw close or distance themselves from one another.
Chow also explores the cultural barriers encountered when integrating into a new land and the struggle of living life with a hyphenated identity.
Jennifer J. Chow is a graduate of Cornell University with a BS in Biology and Society and an undergraduate specialization in gerontology, along with a Master’s in Social Welfare with a concentration in aging. She is also a licensed clinical social worker.
The 228 Legacy made it to the second round of the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Find out more at jenniferjchow.com. The book is in print and digital media at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other major booksellers.